It seems too simple for many adults to consider, but from a child’s point of view, painting with water is a fascinating activity! Paint cups filled only with water and a brush transfer disappearing patterns on chalkboards or sidewalks. The consistency of the medium causes any excesses to find their own course of least resistance, giving every masterpiece an abstract flair, while also giving the artist a front row seat to the evolving shape created. Combine the water painting with chalk for a unique creative experience as the two media are combined.
I often introduce painting at the easel by having the children paint with water. Together, we can work through the processes of brush control, keeping the paint at easel, and keeping the lids on the containers, without the mess of actual paint. It’s almost like training wheels for little artists!
For older children progressing along the writing spectrum, I sometimes write words or letters, or even shapes, on the chalkboard with chalk and then invite them to trace over the lines with the paintbrush and water. This is a great activity for building hand-eye coordination and motor control. Additionally, science and sensory skills are supported as the children observe, and then intentionally use, the properties of water.
Painting with water is a great activity when you’re trying to balance out messy projects that require more supervision in your classroom, or when you need an outdoor activity, but have little time for cleanup. For something so simple, painting with water is an activity that always gets high marks from the children!