outdoor reggio paint3

The explore stage is something we need to keep talking about. In a previous post, I talked about the explore stages of clay. Today, I want to share 5 paint invitations that really helped me embrace the explore stage of paint.

Conversation Tip While Painting

The one phrase I removed from my vocabulary when conversing with children about their paintings was, “What is that?”

As hard as it was – it opened the door for such deeper conversations.  It also allowed me to see the need for time to explore and create and not just replicate what I wanted them to paint.

5 Paint Invitation Ideas

1. Finger (Hand) Painting

art explore paint hands

Notice how the child is learning about mixing colors all on his own

art explore fingerpaint

Child may choose to use just his or her finger

art explore mixcolors

Or may scratch and feel the texture of the paint and surface together

art reggio paint setup

A tray, paper, deep dish palette, and bottle of paint are the materials to help this exploration

2. Paintbrushes and Butcher Paper

paint color mix

Nothing says explore stage like painting on a big surface with paint brushes and just 2 colors!

3. Mirrors and Mixing

Reggio paint mirrors2

Utilizing a different medium to paint (such as a mirror) provides a whole new experience.

Reggio paint mirrors

Notice how the mixed colors really comes through on the mirror!

4. Loose Parts Addition

nature paint

Taking paint brushes away and replacing with flowers, sticks, and weeds

nature paint2

Such a simple set up will provide endless painting possibilities

reggio paint looseparts 2

Even the addition of corks will invite children to explore different techniques of painting

5. Outdoor Painting

outdoor reggio nature paint

The simple shift from painting indoors to outdoors will heighten their learning and exploration

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Easel painting outdoors with natural materials and paper


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Bringing all the explore elements together outdoors! Stunning!

Allowing children to experience the language of paint through a variety of explore stages will:

  • Deepen their explorations with paint
  • Develop of variety of paint technique in an authentic way
  • Honor the child where he or she is at on their journey
  • Help us as teachers slow down and really listen to the children and their thoughts
  • Embrace the mess by recognizing the sensory importance and artistic expression

Teaching Nugget

art trays

These cookie sheets from the dollar store make for the best paint or collage tray!

art palette

Having multiple palettes or sizes of paint containers is helpful for different types of paintings: fingerpaint, large paper painting, nature painting, etc!

Take Action

Plan an invitation for paint exploration! Have no set outcomes for the children, instead take note on what THEY are doing and learning from the paint! Use that to plan future atelier provocations!