Most children love art and especially the mess they can create! There are no wrong or right answers in art. It allows creative expression and helps to develop key skills. Children communicate through their artwork, both visually and verbally. Fine motor skills are developed as children learn to control equipment such as paintbrushes, pencils, crayons and scissors. These activities encourage children to think about their sense of sight, touch and smell.

Sand painting

Mix sand and paint to create a thick consistency. Children can use this sand paint to express their creativity. Stable products such as cardboard, wood or paper plates are needed as a base because of the weight of the paint. When dry, the painting will have a thick, sandy texture. This type of painting is especially effective when portraying beach or desert scenes.

Optional: Sprinkle glitter over the painting for a sparkle effect!

Oil pastel scratching

Decorate a piece of white paper with oil pastel colouring. It doesn’t matter how the paper is coloured in as long as it is entirely covered. Apply a thin layer of slightly diluted black paint, over the entire piece of paper. When dry, use a toothpick to scratch off a design. Where you have scratched, the oil pastel colours will show through.

oil pastels

Oil pastel and water paint resist

Use oil pastels to create a picture. Go over the drawing with water paint. The water paint will ‘resist’ the oil pastels to create a wonderful picture.

Fabric pictures

Cut the shapes of dresses, pants, skirts, tops and other clothing items from material. These can be used to enhance drawings of people. Another option is to cut people shapes from fabric or felt and then use the clothing shapes to decorate. I have used this activity for Jeans for Genes Day, where children drew people and then used jeans shapes that I had cut from denim to glue on as the people’s clothes.

Charcoal Art

Use charcoal to create images. Introduce rubbings using textured surfaces such as sandpaper, mosaic tiling, pineapple skin, pebbles or rough wood. Charcoal can be messy and if you don’t want smudges all around your house or classroom, the drawings should be placed where children cannot reach it once it has been finished.

Shaving Foam Pictures

Spread a thin layer of shaving foam on a smooth, cleanable surface. Mix in some dye to create a colour that will contrast well on the paper that you will be using – darker colouring works best when using white paper. After the children draw a picture in the foam, gently press the paper on the image to take a print and leave to dry.

Glitter paintingsglitter

‘Paint’ a picture using white glue that dries clear. Before the glue dries, press the picture into a container of glitter. Using silver or gold glitter on black paper works especially well because of the contrasting colours.

Rock paintings

Paint river stones or rocks found in the garden. These could be made into characters by adding ‘googly’ eyes and pom pom noses. Pipe cleaners could also be added to make legs or antennae.

Toothpaste finger painting

Create a mixture of toothpaste and paint. Children can use their fingers to Hand(98463)paint pictures. This activity encourages children to think about the senses – especially sight, smell and touch.

These activities will keep your child busy and allows them to express their creativity through art. Any of these art projects can be adapted to make gifts perfect for special occasions like Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays or Christmas!