One of the things that makes young artists so great, is that they are concerned more with the whole experience than with the product alone.  Expand your next painting experience by trying out these tips that encourage children to use more than just their eyes to experience art.  (Originally posted January 2010.)

If you’d like to incorporate a few more senses into your painting projects, add some regular salt generously to your tempera paint and use as fingerpaint or with a brush. The resulting project will have a bit more texture and grit that becomes even more visible as it dries. Use side by side with “regular” paint for a great texture comparison. This will spark interest as well as encourage the use of new vocabulary words like bumpy, gritty, sandy, smooth, etc. (If you’re not fingerpainting, you might want to use your older brushes for this one, as the salt tends to get into the bristles a bit.)

The next day you can add another sense to the activity as you make your paint scented! Just add a packet of Kool-Aid to the container of paint. Try scented paint alone or add the scent to the salty paint for a combined experience. (Do be cautious, as the Kool-Aid seems to make the paint a bit frothy. It can overflow, albeit slowly!) The Kool-Aid adds a fruity scent while also intensifying the colors (which may also affect the washability, depending on the product).

Making your art activities multi-sensory makes them more appealing, while also enhancing the senses and building language skills as the children are bound to talk about the differences they’ve observed! Painting in general also builds creativity and fine motor control and strength.

So try something new with paint you can see, smell, and feel….I suppose you could also add hear if you add some music….though I wouldn’t recommend tasting, at least not with this salty Kool-Aid concoction!

More from the “Exploring the Arts through Our Senses” unit here!



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