Painting With Water, an Outdoor Activity: Paintbrushes and Water Create Learning Opportunities

Painting With Water, an Outdoor Activity: Paintbrushes and Water Create Learning Opportunities

Painting with water is a fun game for young children, and is a good way to spend an afternoon outdoors. Water is an attractive alternative to paint, which is much messier to clean, and disappears more quickly on driveways or sidewalks than chalk. Supply a toddler or preschooler with a plastic bowl of water and an assortment of paintbrushes, and let the fun begin!

Practice Drawing Shapes

Drawing large circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles gives young children a chance to practice fine motor skills while learning to create and identify different shapes. Parents can draw shapes and ask the child to identify them, or encourage the child to draw shapes themselves. Avid water painters must work quickly, however, because the water will evaporate, especially on a sunny day. This can be a plus, since there is never a need to erase or make more space for drawing! Providing large stencils for a guide can be fun as well.

Impromptu Science Experiment

When working with preschoolers or older kids, turn water painting into an opportunity to talk about science. For example, kids can use a timer to measure how long it takes for a water painting to evaporate. Does the painting evaporate more quickly on a cloudy or sunny day? How long does it take for the water to disappear when it’s very hot outside? Parents should encourage children to make observations as they paint.

Add Sidewalk Chalk for Variety

Sidewalk chalk combined with water makes a beautiful medium for summertime creations. The water intensifies the colors and makes them appear brighter. Parents can have a child dip the sidewalk chalk in water before using it. It is advisable not to submerge the chalk completely, or it will dissolve and break off. Use water sparingly when combined with sidewalk chalk, and the result will be a beautiful – and brighter – creation.

Paint on Different Surfaces

The great thing about water painting is its versatility; children can paint on sidewalks, driveways, decks, and brick houses. Parents should point out how the water interacts differently with different surfaces. Does the water stay longer on the sidewalk or on a wooden deck? Is a smoother surface (like wood) easier to paint on than a more porous surface, like concrete? Older children may choose to keep a journal of their observations and draw conclusions based on their experiments.

Water painting is a wonderful way to work on a combination of different skills, from identifying shapes to drawing scientific conclusions to practicing fine motor skills. The possibilities are endless, and the supplies needed are easy – and inexpensive – to provide!

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