(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information).
Okay, so you went out and bought a crazy-big pack of paintbrushes. You’re set! Or not. In something like 30 seconds your preschooler turned those brand new brushes into much-covered, crusty, sticky things that barely resemble anything that could be used for art-making. The bristles are bent and matted together, making it awesomely difficult to actually use them for anything at all.
It happens. A lot. When I taught children’s art classes, I was constantly helping the kids to keep their brushes in working order (obviously the museum where I worked frowned upon buying a constant stream of new ones). But, younger children always seem to have the desire to mash, smash and generally smush brushes onto paper. And, sometimes you’d rather let your little artist explore and experiment with painting art activities than sit next to him and say, “Please don’t break the brush.”
So, if you don’t have a brush left (and your child really wants to paint) or you’re just looking for something different to do – try this easy recycled option! Seriously. It’s low-cost and helps your child to get even more creative. He’ll have to figure out how to use the items that you’re giving him to create his artsy masterpiece! Your child will also get a fine motor workout (using the different materials to paint requires him to move his fingers and hands in different ways). If you do have one of those super-sticky brushes, you can also toss that into the mix. Why? Your child can use the other end (the handle end) to create paint-covered point prints or even roll the entire length of the brush (the handle and all) through the paint to make lines.
Now, on to the art activity…
Here’s What You’ll Need:
· Paper (we used card stock, but you could also use construction paper or poster board)
· Scraps (really, any left-over art item—such as fabric, felt, tissue, cut pipe cleaners, cardboard, paper)
Here’s What to Do:
1. Gather the scraps together. Your child can cut some of them into smaller sizes (if needed). He can also crumble pieces of paper or bend pipe cleaners, making new shapes to paint with!
2. Pour the paint onto a palette. If you don’t have an actual palette, use a piece of thick cardboard or wax paper as an easy (and totally affordable) alternative. Use a rainbow of colors or create a color-mixing kids’ art activity by choosing only the primaries (red, blue and yellow).
3. Give your child a piece of paper to paint on. He can dab the scraps into the tempera, and then press them down onto the paper. He makes ‘brushstrokes’ with fabric, prints with pipe cleaners or anything else he can think up!