The weather is getting warmer, the sun’s finally peeking out from behind those clouds, the flowers are sprouting and it’s time for spring art activities! So break out the finger paint and get in some serious sensory play.
Paint Like an Impressionist
Spring gardens were favorite subjects for the Impressionist artists. Just like Monet and Renoir, your little painter can create her very own nature-based work of art. Yes, the Impressionist used brushes. But, that doesn’t mean your child has to do the same in order to paint like they did.
The Impressionists showed their brush strokes in a major way. Your tot can create a similar style using her hands! This helps your child to get in a fine motor workout while learning about famous artists, exploring colors and even experience science mixing different hues.
Before getting started take a look at some of Monet’s Water Lilies or one of Renoir’s garden scenes. Don’t worry if there isn’t an art museum nearby. You can look at the artworks online or in a book.
The Impressionists focused on the natural environment as they painted. That means they put the time of day, season and lighting into play. Your child is going to explore flowers during this art activity. Help her to capture the real-life setting and go outside to find a few spring blooms. If there aren’t any flowers in your area, find a spring-time video online or look at photos from last year. Ask your child:
- What time of day is it? Is it morning or afternoon?
- How is the light/sunshine different now than early in the morning or late at night?
- What season is it?
- How do you know what season it is?
- What is the weather outside?
Finger Painting Materials
Your child will need:
- Finger or tempera paint
- White card stock or construction paper
- Modeling clay
- Remember the outdoors scene you child observed? Now it’s time for her to recreate it on the paper. Your child can enjoy the sunny spring weather and work outdoors or follow a photo/picture.
- Draw a flower or garden onto the paper. If you’re thinking, “But, there aren’t crayons, markers or pencils listed in the materials section. How can my child draw?”, you aren’t wrong. She can’t technically draw. She can ‘sketch’ out a flower using the clay. Peel the clay apart into dime-sized pieces. Your child can press and ‘paint’ using a finger painting motion on the paper. Don’t worry too much about the color choice here. She’ll paint over the flower later. This is a perfect opportunity to use up all of those clay pieces you’ve been saving from other art activities (the leftovers).
- Pour the finger paint into small pools. Use a paper palette, or for a less expensive version try a paper plate or a sheet of wax paper. You can use a rainbow of colors or stick with the primaries (yellow, blue and red) and white to make lighter hues such as pink or baby blue. If you choose to just go with the primary colors, your child can mix all the other ones she needs herself – using her hands!
- Finger paint the flower and the rest of the outdoor scene. Your crafty kiddo can use her fingers to make brush strokes, just like the Impressionists did. She can layer the colors, creating a thick and somewhat bumpy texture.
Add on to the spring art activity with some real flower power. Gather together a few fallen petals or other natural materials, such as leaves and crinkle them up. Your child can mix them into the paint, creating even more textures for her artwork. When she dips her hands in, ask her to tell you how the crushed natural materials feel in the finger paint!
Are you looking for more spring or flower themed kids’ activities?
Check out these ideas for your toddler or preschooler.
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Erica is a mom, educator and parenting writer, with an MS in child development. When she’s not teaching, she’s busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.