If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already done the research about process-oriented preschool art. You’re not looking for cute crafts or cookie-cutter projects. You just want some simple ideas that will let your kids explore materials and experience creative art activities.
Preschool Art Tools from the Kitchen
Simple is, in my opinion, best. As simple as a glob of paint and a kitchen tool! Below I’m listing a plethora of kitchen tools that preschool kids will love exploring. Your simple job: 1. Set out a few tools next to a plate, cup, or bowl of paint. 2. Put some paper on a tray or plastic place mat. 3. Watch and listen. Let the kids print, press, drag, rub, roll, dab, brush and otherwise manipulate those tools in any way they want. There is no right way, and no product in mind–wheee!! It’s FUN!
Safety first, or course! No knives or other sharp or dangerously pointy tools here. In no particular order, here are some ideas of kitchen tools kids can paint with:
- forks, whisks, spoons, spatulas
- funnels, mini muffin tins, silicone cupcake liners
- measuring cups, bottle brushes, potato mashers
- sponges, scrubbies, turkey basters
- vegetable scrubbers, cups, small bowls…
My tips: Offer only 1-4 tools at a time, depending on the kids’ ages. You don’t want to overwhelm them with choices, and you do want to give them a chance to really observe and master the tools. Also, mix up the offerings! Four different tools with only one color of paint; 3 spatulas with 4 colors of paint; 3 shades of one paint color with 3 similar tools… Paint on foil one day, cardboard the next, and plain construction paper the next. You get the idea.
Painting can be messy, and open-ended art exploration requires you to be open to mess. There are so many benefits: creativity, motor skills, awareness of cause-and-effect, color mixing, eye-hand coordination… My favorite benefits are actually the social emotional ones. Children are more at ease when they are allowed the time to simply explore, without the rules and guidance that are often a part of more product focused art. You can read a short article about the benefits of process focused art right here.
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