We have been trying out one of the ideas from our top ten snow-themed activities list. Sensory “snow” paint, made of one part shaving foam to one part PVA glue. It ticks a few boxes for me:
- It is multi sensory (smells nice, interesting texture, dries puffy)
- It gives the children a brand new material to play with, and an interesting effect to experiment with.
- It’s suitable for all ages (if you’re feeling brave).
I gave L and N a piece of thick black card for their “main” snowy picture. I also gave them a pile of coloured paper to experiment with.
I gave baby F a brush to play with and let her dip her hands in the paint. I did show her how to get paint on the paper but concluded that she is a bit too little – she couldn’t have been less interested in making pictures, but I was excited that she enjoyed feeling the paint, as she hasn’t enjoyed the messier kinds of sensory play until now, and getting to this stage will open up a whole new level of exploration to her. So I tried to curb my need to limit the mess, so as not to put her off with my reaction. It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought – a change of clothes afterwards and a quick wipe of the floor was all it took.
L and N didn’t engage with this as much as I expected – they love painting so expected them to be thrilled – perhaps they were tired, or perhaps being asked to paint snowy pictures was too prescriptive and limiting. They did produce some pretty snow scenes though, and were excited by the way the paint felt when it dried. The puffy effect feels crinkly to the touch.
I like the abstract blizzard effect!
We have LOADS of this paint left over (a little goes a long way) so I might try again, giving them some different ways of working with it – sponges, spray bottles, water bottles with sports caps to drip-paint, combs to flick or splatter-paint, large paintbrushes (the decorating kind). I think this paint would work well with a really huge sheet of paper – it doesn’t lend itself to detailed, careful paintings; it screams “huge” and “playful”! Next time I’ll definitely encourage them to go a bit wilder with it and use their imaginations. It is more than likely that they will come up with something I haven’t thought of, and probably something even better!
Another idea might be to paint big letters or numbers with the paint, then let the children try identifying them by touch – I think this would be a great sensory activity and reminds me a bit of the Montessori sandpaper letters, only the children can make them, which is always more fun.
Sticking craft foam cut-out feet to plastic bottles would make excellent stampers to produce snowy footprints. You could even make paw prints of different animals.
To make coloured puffy paint, adding food colouring or powder paint would work.
We could also use the leftovers to make marbled prints like this.
It’s possible that adding cornflour would give you a kind of polymer clay, but don’t take that as gospel, although I would love to hear from anyone who tries it!