Last week to change up our usual painting on paper we tested out foil painting instead and it was a big hit. This simple and easy art idea is quick to set up and doesn’t require any special materials. Just foil, paint and paintbrushes and you’re ready to go. As it was a nice day and painting on large things is always so much more fun I set this up in the garden and covered a small table in two long strips of foil, securing underneath with some tape.

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Tin foil provides a very different surface to paint on compared to paper or card. The paint doesn’t sink in as much making it great fun to use hands instead of brushes and swirl it round and the crinkly noises makes it an extra sensory experience.

The girls started off working on their own sections with the youngest (19 months) going straight to using her hands and spreading it everywhere. They then moved on to painting together and talking about what it was they were painting.

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The results were lovely and after displaying as one large piece of art in the playroom for a week I then cut up some individual bits into A4 sizes, mounted on some paper and stuck them in the art folders that each of the Little Tots has here.

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We’ve already extended this activity by doing it again but this time I gave them individual peices of foil mounted onto card so they did their own paintings. I’ve also mounted foil onto thick card and set out some sharp pencils (under supervision) so they could scratch the foil to leave marks which they were fascinated by.

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Early Years Outcomes

This foil painting activity was enjoyed by a 3 year old, 2 year old and 19 month old. Whilst watching them I was able to observe the following EYO’s

  • Communication & Language – maintaining concentration, using complex sentences to link thoughts (“the paint is slippy because the foil is shiny”).
  • Physical Development – Enjoys sensory experience of making marks in paint, making connections between their movements and the marks they make, using palmer grasp, using tripod grasp, drawing lines and circles using gross motor movements (painting), washing and drying own hands.
  • Personal, social and emotional development –  welcomes praise for what they have done, confident talking to other children, working together with children in a group, shows an interest in the activities of others.
  • Literacy – early mark making, sometimes gives meanings to the marks they make.
  • Maths – beginning to use the language of size (large painting), using positional language (“we are painting on top of the foil”), talking about shapes.
  • Understanding the world – knows things are used in different ways (brush for painting), talks about why things happen.
  • Expressive arts and design – experimenting with colours and marks, interested in effect of making movements which leave marks, talking about colour, creating simple representations of people, playing alongside others engaged in the same theme.

The Early Years Outcomes document is a non-statutory guide to support practitioners. It can be used by childminders, nurseries and others, such as Ofsted, throughout the early years as a guide to making best-fit judgements about whether a child is showing typical development for their age, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age.

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