At Sunnyside Daycare, we LOVE to do art! There are always art materials available for the older kids to use, and even the younger ones just need to ask for some crayons (or point at them) should they want to colour. Many parents have asked me throughout the years how they can incorporate art into their home routine, and even more so, how can they avoid the mess of traditional art mediums like paint and play-doh. As parents, sometimes the luxury to let kids tackle a full-on paint project just isn’t an option – dinner needs to be made and the baby sibling is fussy. So here is a great option for letting your kids paint without worrying about the mess. This is also a good option for people working in daycares with babies or toddlers who still put paint in their mouths; now you don’t have to worry!

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Mess-Free Art: Painting with Ziplock Bags.

This was inspired by The Hippie Housewife.

Materials required:

  • Paint
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Tape
  • Optional extra materials include, but aren’t limited to: cardstock, sand, hair gel, beads…

Put a little dollop of paint in a Ziploc bag, squeeze out the air, fasten the ends, and tape it shut. That’s it! An easy, mess-free, paint activity that can be done anywhere from the kitchen table, to a doctors office, to a bench at the park! You can tape the Ziploc to the wall, the window, the floor, or the highchair, to stabilize it and make it easier for little hands to manipulate.

The best part of this activity (aside from the simple clean-up) is that it can be modified in so many ways to keep the kids interested! here are some ideas to change this activity up!

Add a piece of cardboard, cardstock, or heavy paper to the Ziploc so that you can have a nice piece of artwork. Don’t put too much paint, and make sure you keep an eye on it, so that you can pull the paper out before the paint soaks through it. A great way to make an abstract artwork or a base for a greeting card.

Add more than one colour to the bag to make it a colour mixing activity.

Add glitter to the bag to give it a new look.

Add sand, hair gel, googly eyes, beads, or pretty much anything else to the bag to give it a new texture.

Tape down 2 sides of the bag, and cut cardboard or paper to fit underneath. Draw simple shapes, letters, or numbers on the cards and slide them underneath so that the children can use their fingers to trace them. This is a GREAT way to teach the preschool kids to write their names!

I am sure there are more ways to expand on this painting activity. Any ideas?

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