Exploring a new art canvas in preschool

These children are in their first week of preschool and today they explored painting on aluminum foil.

Many of the children began their painting with one finger dipped in paint. It was interesting watching the children slowly make little fingerprints on their foil canvas. They were meticulously going back and forth from paint to canvas, painting one dot at a time.

But it wasn’t long before they would realize it was fun to also draw lines with their fingers. The paint glided easily over the smooth texture of the foil.

And before long, they progressed to making full circles and designs.

In the classroom next door, the children crumbled up their foil a bit first then smoothed it back out. The texture of their foil was not smooth, it had lines and creases. These children used paint brushes rather than their hands.

As I compared the two approaches, I realized that it might have been nice to combine both of them so the children felt the smooth and the sharp texture with their hands first then jumped into painting.

I always enjoy observing the various approaches to a similar activity and I learn something new every time!

My message today, like many days, is to take ideas that are on the web or in a book and then just like these teachers do, modify or apply the ideas in such a way that your students will enjoy the experience.

By |2010-09-03T21:00:24+00:00September 3rd, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. polwig September 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    That is such a cute idea, you can probably cut them out into snowflakes or sun catchers later 😉

    • Deborah J. Stewart September 4, 2010 at 10:38 am - Reply

      For sure – cutting foil can be a bit tricky since it tears easily. But it might be fun to even tear the painted foil and go from there too!

  2. Amy A September 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    I bet this would be really cool with translucent or shiny paints :). I’ll have to add it to my list of new things to try. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jenny September 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this idea Deborah – I’ve never seen it before and think we will try it out next week.

  4. jess September 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    i love this idea we usally do it once a year if you add some dish soap to the paint it wont flake off when drys .

  5. Ayn Colsh September 4, 2010 at 9:16 am - Reply

    I am going to have to try this! What a cool idea!!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart September 4, 2010 at 10:37 am - Reply

      Hi Ayn, It is nice to hear from you! I hope all is well! I am going to hop over to see your oceans of fun!!

  6. Teacher Tom September 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Ooo, I love the dish soap tip. The flaking paint has always been one of my irritations with painting on foil.

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok