You know those activities that you turn to when you are not too sure what to do with the kids? When you need an activity to pull out of your sleeve on the fly, with no prep and no mess?
I have it for you.
This idea is so simple that I almost thought I shouldn’t write a blog post about it. But, then, I thought it is so simple I should ABSOLUTELY write a blog post about it. (Do you follow? If not, I blame our current living situation – my communication skills are vanishing)
This idea has been a go-to for me for 18 years now. My oldest daughter loved this activity, both boys thought it was simply the best, and little Norah’s first experience was a huge success. Four for four? That never happens!And I love it because it is outside, mess-free, and typically involves me sitting sipping a coffee with a big smile as I watch the fun.
For this simple activity all you need is water, some dishsoap (not needed, but fun), and paintbrushes. To really kick up the fun you can use a paint roller and tray. My littlest got this fancy action, my oldest had only the basic paintbrush.
Next, let those little ones paint! Norah painted her big playhouse (my oldest, as she recalled watching Norah, had no such playhouse. Instead, she painted the bricks of our regular boring house. With her regular boring brush. The travesty of being the eldest.)
It really can be this simple. And for me and my little ones, it typically is! There is so much learning that happens naturally with this activity for toddlers and preschoolers. They are crossing midline as they stretch and paint, which helps to strengthen the corpus collosum in the brain, important for many things – including future reading and writing. They are enjoying a fabulous sensory experience (especially once they get rolling and paint those feet!)
You can also add in some additional learning, deepening any topic you are currently practicing.
For toddlers and preschoolers:
- Pop letters on the playhouse, bricks, or ground in chalk and have children paint over the letters with water making them vanish
- Call out a letter and have your child print it on the ground/deck/house using their paintbrush and water
- Play ‘guess my animal’ having your child draw and animal and you guess what he or she is drawing, then switch turns
- Practice counting as your child ‘erases’ chalk dots you drew with water, counting as he or she goes
For older children:
- Practice sight words and word families by painting them with water on the deck, driveway, or house
- Practice math facts written in chalk, answering out loud, and if correct they get to erase with their water paintbrush
- Try to paint a wall/area as fast as they can, seeing if the whole surface can be covered before the water begins to evaporate (this is excellent for crossing midline and gross motor development)
And of course, most importantly, have fun! When given a spark, children often dive into learning all on their own. Hmmm … doesn’t someone have a free mini eBook all about this? Oh that’s right, me! (Grab your copy right here: 20 Sparks to Ignite Child Led Learning).
I hope this water painting activity isn’t too simple for you. But then again, it almost always is the simplest things that little ones love! And Mamas too,
Thank you so much for reading, sweet friend,