Mini Monets and Mommies: Learning Letters with Water Color Resist Painting

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Learning Letters with Water Color Resist Painting

The ability to write letters is a major part of early childhood development. If you’re looking at the title, and asking what this has to do with a water color resist art activity – I promise, I’ll explain.

Letter Art

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My son never really struggled with writing letters. But, he did find the rote writing assignments (worksheet after never-ending worksheet) that his kindergarten teacher handed out to be quite the challenge. Why? Um, because they were boring. I remember him sitting at his tiny little work table in our living room, crying because he just didn’t understand why he had to write 10 lines of ‘A’.

I took my son’s issues to work with me. As a children’s art teacher, I had plenty of parents come to me with worries about their kids’ fine motor skills. Was Johnny having problems holding the crayons at art class too? Is Jenny behind because she refuses to write certain letters for her pre-k teacher? After talking to plenty of parents I found that the issues/problems/challenges that many (not all – and if you really feel that your child has a developmental delay you should immediately bring it to the attention of your pediatrician or a qualified, licensed early childhood professional/specialist) of these children had came from boredom. They could write, they just didn’t care to. But, put them in an art class and they were all in for playing with finger paints, paintbrushes, rollers, markers, crayons and whatever else we had to use.

If you’re looking for a way to get your child writing (or if you just want another option outside of a pencil), this art activity provides a bit more in the way of creative expression. It’s also an easy sensory play exploration and includes elements of science. The petroleum jelly allows your child to explore through his senses. Not only can he feel the slimy texture, but it’s also great for kids who may typically shy away from these types of activities. It’s clear – meaning it doesn’t ‘look’ messy. Some children may be more willing to explore the clearish jelly over something that looks like mud or muck.

Before beginning, start with a few open-ended questions (i.e., the science part). Ask questions such as, “What do you think will happen when you put the jelly on the paper?” or, “What do you think will happen when you paint the water over the jelly?” After making a few predictions, it’s time to move on to the art-making/ letter drawing and let your child experiment!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        White card stock paper

·        Watercolor paints

·        A paintbrush

·        Water

·        Petroleum jelly

·        Paper towels

Here’s What to Do:

1. Pick a letter. After your child has a letter in mind, invite him to finger ‘paint’ the letter onto the paper with the jelly.
Early Literacy

Kids' art

2. Paint the paper with the water colors. Watch what happens as the colorful water washed over the jelly (hint: it beads up). At this point, it’s a good idea to constantly clean the brush off. As it drags over the jelly it will pick some of the sticky stuff up. This may spread the jelly, making it difficult for the paint to stick to the rest of the paper. Wipe the brush off with a paper towel often.
Paint project

3. Use a fresh towel to wipe the jelly off of the paper. What’s left behind? The letter!
Children's art
Alphabet art

Are you looking for more art activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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