We ditched the paint brushes today in favour of string and the results are beautiful. Painting with string is a new technique for us and I can’t believe we’ve never tried it before.

The Little Tots painted for far longer than they would if I had given them normal paint brushes. They were truly captivated by the marks the string made on the paper and all made several pictures each.

You will need:

  • Paint
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Paper or card

To set this up I set out the paint and cut up different lengths of string for them wiht some paper and left them to see what they would do next. It was fascinating to watch them all use the string in a different way to paint with.


One of the Little Tots pushed the string into the paint and then pushed it down onto her piece of paper, lifting it up to check what had happened and inspect the marks she had made. She repated the process several times, each time getting a different result.

Jack enjoyed dragging the string over his piece of paper and pretending it was a snake. He changed the colour to make a lots of differnet coloured snakes until he was satisifed he had a snake rainbow.

Another used the end of the string as a tiny paint brush to start off with making small marks by dipping it in the paint and then onto the paper. Great for some fine motor control and controlled mark making.


I love how different each painting turned out and they were all totally engaged in this activity and loved to observe the different marks they were creating and different ways of making them.

….after about 20 minutes of painting with string though it, of course, turned into a finger painting session…which of course turned into hand prints, then arm prints which is where I drew the line before they deiced to paint their whole body!

Links to the EYFS

  • Literacy – Distinguishes between the different marks they make
  • Expressive Arts & Design – experiments with marks and colours, notices effects of making movements which leave marks,
  • Physical Development – picks up small objects, enjoys the sensory experience of making marks, makes connections between their movement and marks they make and showing control using mark making tools.

We have lots of different painting ideas for babies and toddlers through to preschoolers on the blog so why not check them out or try out some of our favourites such as painting with dinosaurs, painting with trucks or the classic potato print painting.

What do your little ones love to paint with? Let me know in the comments below.

Painting with string

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