Make Art With Extra-Long Paintbrushes

Calling all toddlers! This two-phase art project uses oil pastels first, then tempura paints, for wild, creative results.
By Meghan Burch
Jan 20, 2017




Jan 20, 2017

This art project is a two-phase invitation to create: First, have your toddler experiment with chubby oil pastels on white pieces of paper. Then, when she's done with the pastels, bring the paper over to a setup on the floor to play with paint brushes taped to long sticks and black tempera paint while standing. Throughout both steps of this activity, play music and encourage your child to move (and paint) to the beat.

What You Will Need

  • Newspaper to protect the floor
  • Chubby oil pastels
  • Tempera paint
  • Large synthetic-bristle watercolor brushes
  • Dowels (or use a short, sturdy stick or paper towel roll)
  • Painter's tape
  • Paper (large pieces of paper are ideal for this project)
  • Containers for paint
  • Music

What to Do

Step 1: Tape large synthetic-bristle watercolor brushes to dowels using painter's tape. If you don't have dowels on hand, try using the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels or a stick from your garden. (Any tape works here, but this type will allow you to remove the brushes from the dowel without leaving behind a sticky residue on the brush.)

Step 2: Set up a drawing area with white paper and chubby pastels. As your child is drawing, put on some tunes: keep it instrumental, up-tempo, and light. Encourage your child to create colorful art — and move to the music, too!

Step 3: Set up an area for your child to use tempera paints. This could get messy, so put newspapers down on the floor. Add a little water to the tempera paint to make it more fluid. If you want, you can nestle the tubs of paint into a tray lined with pebbles for weight. This will make the containers less likely to tip over if brushes are dipped, with toddler-force, into the paint.

Step 4: When your child is done with pastels, have her go over to the tempera paint station with her art. Tape down two opposite edges of your child's paper so it won't shift around while she dances to the music and twirls her brush on the paper.

For a different twist, you can explore how different tempos and rhythms influence your child's art creation. Make playlists with music from Miles Davis, Mozart, Thelonious Monk, Beethoven, and Vince Guaraldi, and see how your child responds.

Enjoy the results from this exploration of music, motion, and marks!

Featured photo courtesy of Kristin Angel

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