It’s winter, it’s cold and it’s and wet. Playing outside is out of the question. The children are bored. What are we going to do? Painting!
To be honest, the last time we did a painting activity was months ago. When they’re very little, it can be such a hassle and mummy ends up spending more time setting up and cleaning and than they do enjoying it.
However, I’ve been suffering from mummy guilt so I decided to give it another go. After all, it’s a great activity for them. Benefits include:
- fostering creativity and sense of achievement
- developing hand-eye coordination
- exploring emotions and feelings
This time, we tried making our own potato stamps.
Paint – when they girls were little I got a cute small kit that was used up in one go, so then I got a load of school grade paints* from Amazon, which I still have plenty of.
Paint pots – these pots* stop spilling paint and mixing colours. We first used a small palette but the vibrant colours quickly became a ‘sewage greyish brown’
Brushes – as many as the paint pots
Potatos – the potatos we had were relatively small, so not big enough for biscuit shapes we wanted to use, so if you’re planning to do this, try to buy big potatoes.
Biscuits Cutters – a variety of shapes. We also used playdough cutters – they’re not as sharp as the biscuit cutters to cut through the potato, but do the job
A knife – for grown ups only, obviously
Paper – we use the long paper roll* for Ikea’s Easel so we can cut it as big as we like.
How to make potato stamps
- Cut the potato lengthways so you get a wide area to carve
- Press a biscuit cutter into it
- With a sharp knife, cut around the cutter, so make the shape salient
- We had a limited choice of biscuit cutters who fitted the potatoes so we also used play dough shapes. They’re not as sharp so need to be pressed harder into the potato
- I also used the small cut offs to do other shapes I fancied. Such as this mouth
- Paint the surface of the stamp with the brush but take care not to put too much paint.
Ideas to use the stamps and paint
- Talk about the shapes
- Use different colours, mix colours to make new colours, ask what colours are needed to make, say, pink and green
- Different primary colours, mix colour different colorus
- With the circle shape, I also carved the girls’ names (written backwords)– so we had a stamp with their name as well
Educational benefits and link to language learning
It was a good fun way to so something we don’t do every day. The girls love it and we could all get a little creative. Even mummy! Check out the lips I’ve made with a cut off:
We spoke of different colours and shapes we were using. When they asked for a colour we didn’t have, I asked what colour they thought we needed. So we got to experiment with that too.
So, we did all the above, but chatted about it in the target language
I recently fell out of the habit of speaking the target language so I made a conscious decision to take it easy, prepare things in advance so I would not feel rushed and forget to speak the language. I also asked them to only speak Portuguese. If they asked me to pass a colour I pretended not to understand. I asked with a cheeky smile ‘… em Portugues?’ (…in Portuguese?) and only gave it to them if they said it in the minority language, so it made us all make an effort.
We all had a good time and the girls spent more time than usual using the stamps and painting, so it was worth the little effort. I am looking forward to spring tough, so we can paint ‘al fresco’.
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