Develop children’s artistic talents as they enjoy a sense of spring with these creative ideas from Jude Harries…
Give each child a paper towel and ask them to fold it in half. Ask the children to draw a simple outline of a rainbow or flower on the top layer of the folded towel using a permanent marker.
Lift up the top half and they should see that the pen has gone through to the lower layer.
Colour in this lower image with washable markers. Place each towel into a shallow tray of water and watch the colours from the lower layer appear on the top layer as if by magic! Remove quickly and leave to dry.
Let the children start with some water painting, using a variety of brushes and pots of water.
Can they watch their paintings disappear when the sun comes out? Make some ‘fizzy paints’ by mixing bicarbonate of soda (two cups) with cornflour (one cup), then add water until it makes a thick consistency.
Divide into smaller bowls and add food colouring. Let the children paint pictures on the playground floor or pavement with their new paints.
Make the pictures fizz by squirting vinegar out of a squeezy bottle. Don’t forget to film their reactions!
Look at images of paintings by JMW Turner, such as ‘Waves breaking against the wind’.
He specialised in watercolour landscapes and paintings of the sea and liked painting outside whatever the weather.
Ask the children to cover their paper with a wash of water. Add thin streaks of different watery colours such as blue, green and yellow.
Watch the colours spread on the wet paper. On a showery day, invite the children to paint pictures and then take them outside and wait for the rain to fall and spread the colours.
Ask the children to curl up as small as they can and pretend to be fast asleep.
Slowly narrate ‘waking up’ as they wriggle fingers and toes, stretch out arms, uncurl, yawn, sit up, stretch legs, kneel up, stand up, stretch and spring into action.
Children can choose which animal to be as they wake up. Repeat, but change the narrative to a seed waking up and growing into a plant with roots, shoots and flowers.
Explain to children that they are going to act out a story about a mysterious egg. Plan a picnic, letting the children choose suitable food and mime preparing, packing and eating it.
Choose a picnic site. Ask one of the children to pretend to find a large egg. This could be a flat shape cut out of cardboard or made from papier mâché.
What are they going to do with it? Leave it alone, take it home? Pretend that the egg hatches suddenly. What emerges? Can the children help the chick, dinosaur or dragon find its mother?
Create a spring-cleaning dance to some spring music (‘Spring Cleaning’ by Fats Waller).
Invite the children to stand in a circle and provide cloth dusters. Ask them to hold their cloth at one corner and wave it in the air as they take two steps forward and then back. Swap hands and repeat.
They can scrunch up the dusters and pretend to clean the air around them as they spin, then stretch up high to reach a cobweb or bend down low to clean the floor.
Jude Harries is an author and teacher of music and drama, with experience of working with children aged nine months to 11 years.