Sunday, May 22, 2011

House Painting

As you may have guessed from this blog, we love to paint. We paint just about every week...and add a little twist from time to time. We've been talking about families lately so this week we painted on house shapes. And we used smaller brushes that resembled house painting brushes.

This activity turned out to be a perfect example of why I teach through open-ended activities and exploration and play. Each house turned out completely differently. I enjoyed seeing how each child who chose to paint explored their ideas in a different way. (And not everyone did paint - another key to activity teaching - choosing what to do or whether do it at all.)

"M" created a picture that included the shape and the paint. Her house is lovely and a more literal interpretation of the idea. Would she have painted this picture on paper that wasn't this shape? Probably not.

"B" decided to explore stripes and patterns. This is a common painting technique with my kids. She liked the house shape but painted in a way that had no relation to the shape itself.

"C" painted some wide blue stripes, exploring the brush and the paper shape. Then, after creating a design, she used the orange to fill in the open spaces. She explored form, shape, and color interactions.

"A" created a solid orange roof and a blue house body. She said she was finished and then changed her mind. She painted orange over the blue and announced, "I made brown." Then she painted blue over the orange roof to create more brown. She explored how colors and paint interact.

"H" also decided to paint stripes. However, he approached the process in an entirely different way. He painted blue lines, spaced apart. Then, he asked me to wash the brush so he could use the same one again. He painted orange lines between the blue ones, creating a striped effect. It looks similar to B's house but was created in a different way.

In early childhood circles, we often hear "process is more important than product," the doing is more important than the result. And this week I was able to see that in action. Each child's thinking was challenged through the process of painting on a house shape. And while the results are all different, the process to get there is the important thing the child is taking away from this activity.


  1. :) we love to paint as fact we paint nearly every day! And we also love to use cut out shapes. This way, we can focus on a topic and encourage some specific language, while at the same time allowing the children to interpret how to create their own unique painting! You have some really great anecdotal notes here about the children's thinking process! (sometimes it's easy to forget that these simple ideas such as a cut out house can offer the children so much- thanks for reminding me!)

  2. oh- and I LOVE the idea of using the small "house painting" brushes! I think we'll have to try this!

  3. It was really cool how the use of the same materials translated into different outcomes. Open-ended exploration and play is imperative to child development, so I'm all for this activity!

  4. Very interesting Scott! I wonder however what the children would do IF they were to paint their own house shapes. Without the cut out shape would they continue along the line of the striped patterns or would they more reflect their own houses? ... It could be interesting to find out!
    Donna :) :)

  5. Some interesting thoughts, Donna. Thanks.

  6. Its very inspiring! How a child want to paint her house? great though! House painting