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Water Painting Activity

This outdoor activity is perfect for any age group and has the multiple benefits of being easy to create and linking to many areas of the EYFS Development Matters. With minimal equipment and a handful of imagination, everyday items can be used in a different way. This activity is better suited for small groups at a time, depending on available resources.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • Paintbrushes
  • A cup of water
  • A pavement
Photographer: Jonathan Borba | Source: Unsplash

Preparing the activity:

  1. Simply fill up some cups of water; the children can help, if age appropriate.
  2. Gather any available paintbrushes.
  3. Round up the troops and go outside!
Photographer: Sindy Süßengut | Source: UnsplashPhotographer: Sindy Süßengut | Source: Unsplash

Doing the activity:

The water is used the same way the children use paint but, instead of using paper, the pavement is used. In the warmer weather the water soon evaporates so the children can take part in endless mark making.

Demonstrate how it is done first by drawing a circle or smiley face and letting them watch it disappear. This way the children fully understand what will happen and will not be sad when their pictures start to vanish!

Encourage them to see how many shapes or letters they can ‘paint’ before the first one disappears, or see if they can draw around their hands to engage some other senses as they feel the wet brush move around their hands.

As there will most likely not be enough resources for every child at once, sharing and turn-taking also come into play.

The water and paintbrushes also work well on wooden items, such as fences or sheds; whatever may be available. Encourage the children to explore their surroundings and see what other materials work well for water painting.

Photographer: Kuma Kum | Source: Unsplash

Tracking the activity:

16-26 months

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Makes connections between their movement and the marks they make.

Expressive Arts and Design: Exploring and using media and materials- Notices and is interested in the effects of making movements which leave marks.

22-36 months

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Imitates drawing simple shapes such as circles and lines.

Literacy: Writing- Distinguishes between the different marks they make.

Expressive Arts and Design: Being imaginative - Beginning to use representation to communicate, e.g. drawing a line and saying ‘That’s me.’

Expressive Arts and Design: Exploring and using media and materials- Experiments with blocks, colours and marks.

30-50 months

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Can copy some letters, e.g. letters from their name.

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Draws lines and circles using gross motor movements.

Literacy: Writing- Sometimes gives meaning to marks as they draw and paint.

Understanding the world: The world- Talks about why things happen and how things work.

40-60 months

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Shows a preference for a dominant hand.

Physical Development: Moving and Handling- Begins to form recognisable letters.

Literacy: Writing- Gives meaning to marks they make as they draw, write and paint.

Expressive Arts and Design: Exploring and using media and materials- Understands that different media can be combined to create new effects.