We have a longstanding love affair with foil in our house. We’ve painted on it, drawn on it, made Christmas decorations out of it, and today we got out the shiny roll of goodness once again. Today it was time for finger painting on foil!
Something to cover your work surface – we used a big sheet of paper.
Paints – we used fluro temepera paints but you could use specific finger paint if you like, or make your own.
Dish Detergent – squirt a little into your paints to help it stick to the foil and make for easy clean up
Some tape to help the foil stay put
A warm wet cloth to help keep the mess under control
A smock, or apron, or old clothes, or no clothes at all.
Cover your work surface and tape down a nice big bit of foil so it doesn’t slide around while you work.
I put the paints into small containers, mixed in the dish washing detergent and offered Noah a spoon to dollop the paint onto the foil, but you could just squirt a bit of paint along with a bit of detergent directly onto the foil and mix with your fingers!
Noah was new to finger painting and as I set it up he asked me a few times where the brushes were and seemed bemused when I told him he could paint with his fingers. He loved looking at the reflections in the shiny foil and dropping the paint in big dollops across the surface.
At first he began with just one finger, swirling and pushing the paint around, mixing the colours just a little. Then slowly he used more and more of his hand, then added his other hand and was soon smooshing and sliding his hands all over the smooth surface of the foil.
Noah is two and a half and this activity was all about the sensory experience in the beginning. He rubbed his hands together, added more paint, swirled his fingers over the surface and said ‘oooh messy’ quite a bit!
After a little while he began ‘drawing’ in the paint with his fingers, making patterns, then ‘rubbing them out’ and starting again. Occasionally he would describe or label his pictures as this or that, but none of them stayed on the surface for more than a moment when he declared them done, smooshing and swiping the surface clear was just as important as creating the pictures.
For Noah, this activity was all about the process, and not at all about a product. When he was done he simply walked away. He didn’t ask me to hang up his painting to dry, he didn’t ask for another piece of foil to do another picture, his focus was entirely on exploring and enjoying, not ‘making’. He had played with the slippy slidey paint on the smooth shiny foil for about an hour and loved every moment of it, and reminded me once again that art with little kids doesn’t have to be fancy, because it is about the ‘doing’.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Jessica @ Play Trains! says
Look at the joy on his face! This looks like a lot of fun.
Denyse Whelan Education Specialist says
YES. that grin does say it all. Only having one small boy must have felt strange too. This is awesome Kate, and as we said today via twitter with Naomi, more parents “need” to “let” the kids get messy!! Denyse
Love this messy play and so does your little man by the look of that face! haven’t done this for ages…will have to do some again soon, love the patterns their fingers make!
Kate - An Everyday Story says
Jack and Sarah love fingerpainting so much too :) Usually I just put down an A3 sized laminated piece of paper for them. The foil would be interesting to work with though. Does Noah ever rip the foil? I think Jack and Sarah would really love it but I know Jack would be very disappointed (to the point of tears) if he ripped the foil :(
You know I was surprised at how well the foil held up. Noah is not exactly gentle… though he did start off fairly gentle as he was quite apprehensive, but then got wilder by the minute! LOL
I think it helps to have the foil taped down well. I taped ours at each corner. But then for my boy it was all about the process so had he torn it I think that would have added more interest!
I bet painting on the foil felt really lovely on his hands, what a great way to explore the senses and colour! And what a great vibrant colour too!
Gorgeous…these sorts of posts make me happy..and sad…Because now all the kids are at school, I miss these types of moment. xx
Elise @ Creative Play Central says
Foil makes for a fun canvas. Noah looks like he had a ball experimenting and discovering with this vibrant paint.
Jeanette Nyberg says
Look at his awesome face! Finger painting on foil is definitely a fun project.
we have never painted or done anything with foil – must give this a go
Miss Cinders says
LOVE this Kate!
My kids used to get super messy doing crafty fun stuff when they were little. If it wasn’t fun, we gave it a miss.
One of their fave things was mud. LOTS of mud. depending on how runny it was, they’d build castles, slosh or draw in it.
How do you come up with all these cool ways to use foil? Another great idea. I love how you use scrap your finger through the paint to make a picture. Twins would love, love, love this activity!
[email protected] says
Sensational idea Kate! I love that this activity became about the process and not the product. Little Noah seemed to really enjoy himself and get a lot out of it. I look forward to getting my little girl into this.
P.S Love the Micador fluro paints!!!
Nathalie Brown says
The look of pure delight makes me :)
Love the idea of finger-painting on foil! Looks like a ton of fun. Unfortunately, neither one of my boys will touch the stuff… :(
This is great…I was looking for some great fun with colors and i founded!!! We are trying this today or tomorrow…than you for sharing this great activity…