Q-Tip (cottonbud) Painting. Learning Numbers

Sep 25, 2012

Once again we're at our favourite activity, painting. Today it's painting with Q-Tips (cotton buds) and I've included a Printable 1-10 Number Template if you'd like to include some number learning.

Ages: 2-6+
(M was 3.5 here. See the bottom of the post  for details to simplify or extend for younger or older children)

Materials: Paints, Q-tips (cotton buds), Paper and a copy of THIS number template if you'd like to include extra learning.

Click HERE to download a copy of this basic 1-10 Number Template

With your child, identify and count each of the written numbers
Have your child place the corresponding amount of dots in each square.

Encourage your child to use whatever colours they like but ensure that each time they change colours, they re-count the dots they've already done and then count-on from there to add the remaining dots.
(eg. 1, 2, 3, 4 blue dots... So, you have 4..., 5, 6, 7, 8 yellow dots)

Using just 2 colours can be good as it allows your child to see 2 different amounts of dots making one total amount. (Eg. 4 blue dots and 4 yellow dots make 8 dots. So 4 and 4 is 8. Try other combinations, 3 & 5, 2 & 6 etc.)

Maddie really enjoyed this. For her, it's not about learning, it's about having fun, being challenged and achieving things

Time to get creative with some free painting

Use different Q-tips for colour mixing

Look at and discuss the different shapes and textures achieved by painting with a Q-tip

Try creating simple dot pictures

This entire picture had a running dialogue. From animals walking around to waterholes and jungles (Can't you tell?). Story telling through painting can be so therapeutic.

Try painting with multiple Q-tips at the same time

Look at the patterns and colours.
This would be cool for making your own wrapping paper or crafting paper

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by simply allowing free painting with the Q-tips. For some basic number recognition, counting and one-to-one correspondence, try focusing on 1 number at a time

- Extend this activity by challenging your child to find as many different colour combinations as they can for the same number. (eg, how many different ways can you make 8 dots using 2 colours, 3 colours, 4 colours etc.)

- Mix it up by making a garden picture and having each of the petals done with a q-tip. Each flower could have a different number of petals for the child to count and paint.

- Remember that sometimes children just create, they don't need it to be a specific item at the end. It could just be an abstract creation. Allow this and don't push them to think they must paint something "real."

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests.

Happy playing and learning,
Debs :)

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  1. Super cute idea! Love all the variations!

  2. This is how we always have to paint, because my daughter freaks out if she gets paint on her hand. I love the numbers sheet. That will be perfect for preschool!

  3. I love painting with q-tips. It is a lot less messy than the paint brushes. We made a rainbow with ours. Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a brilliant idea. I did a post for teaching the letter P on different ways to paint and this is not a way I'd thought of.

  5. We are going to have to do this! My daughter loves to paint and loves q-tips lol!

  6. I may not make it over here often (you know how that goes) but I LOVE your site Debs! Each time I see your pins on Pinterest I think, "What a fabulous idea/pin/post etc" You are doing fantastic things! One reason why your site is up and coming <3

  7. We haven't painted with those in ages, and I remember they liked it too. I am definitely going to try with the numbers! Thank you! Hope it's ok to pin this.

  8. So fun! Thanks for sharing! Pinned it and plan on doing this soon.


  9. Cute idea! My kids love painting with q-tips!

  10. We love your site and want to thank you for the inspiration and all the daily creativity through our playing time!! xxx from Greece

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Despina. So glad you can find inspiration here. Kind regards back to you from Melbourne, Australia :) xx

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