Paint What You See Activity

Jul 22, 2013

We're on Holiday! This is a guest post for Learn with Play at home written by the lovely Nae from Adventures At Home with Mum. Enjoy, Debs :)

Paint what you see

Painting is a creatively fun yet educational activity for children and an easy activity for parents to engage in. It can be messy at times but this is half of the experience so don’t let that put you off.  (Here are some more of my Messy Painting Tips)  Apart from being a sensory discovery, creative and fun, painting is very beneficial to a child’s development.

Free painting is great for little hands and we do free paint a lot but this time around we had a different painting Adventure with the aim of painting objects. “Paint what you see” was the only direction.  With this direction the benefits of painting become more apparent and the object the child is painting becomes more visually represented.

This is a great way to help children step up from colour mixed blob paintings to real life object paintings. But remember that the process is more important, not the product; It is what they learn not what it looks like. 

The activity begins with choosing objects to paint, Dimples set up outside with a choice of objects; a water pistol, scooter, his bike and a watering can. Then I asked him to pick his paint, what colours do you see?

This initial set up is great for learning colours, it lets the child differentiate between colours and shades which gives them the opportunity to label them as they go.

As Dimples started to paint I asked him which colour he was going to start with and what shapes does he see in his objects. This lead to a great conversation about the position, quality of the paint, location, details of what comes next and shapes of certain parts of his chosen objects. This activity gave a good opportunity to discuss many things like colours, shapes, size, position, direction, texture and spatial relation.

It’s a good idea to casually ask questions about these things as your child paints to encourage the child to think critically and put into words by labelling what they see and what they are doing. This helps with vocabulary and links the right side of the brain (creativity) to the left (language).

On top of this, by Painting what they see a child is also provided with opportunities for developing physical abilities such as fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and visual perception.  Painting allows children to transform sights and ideas into a visual form.

  • Fine motor skills, gross motor skills
  • Hand eye coordination
  • Learning colours, shades, shapes.
  • Learning size, position, spatial relations.
  • Developing visual perception
  • Creative thinking
  • Improving vocabulary

Extend on this:
  •  Start with object with a few block colours
  • Increase to objects with more colour in more details
  • Paint more than one object, one close/one further away
  • Paint each other (what you are wearing, how you’re positioned, and your expression)
  • Extend to the background

Renee is an Australian stay at home Mum to Dimples & Miss Cherub, and Author of the fun blog ' Adventures at home with Mum.  She is a hands on Mum who loves sharing playful ways for children to learn during the early years and has a little bit of everything on her blog from messy sensory play, extreme paint to active and outdoor fun. Renee has a Psychology degree and various study attainments in childcare, personality development and effective parenting, she wishes to work with children in the future but for now she is enjoying watching her children grow and learn at home. You can find Renee on facebook or Pinterest