Painting with a mop and a preschooler

Last week, I got a chuckle out of reading “The ‘Correct’ Tools?” and the comments from Mrs. Karen’s Preschool. Towards the end of her post, Karen stated…

“The “correct tools” in my classroom are ones that encourage fun, creativity and yes, lots and lots of giggles. Why in this world would anyone settle for just paint brushes when there is a world of possibilities out there? Oh well… I guess I should stop the ranting and do something productive today. Maybe I’ll mop the kitchen floor? Hmmm . . . I don’t think we have ever painted with a mop!”

So, thanks to Karen, guess what we did today? …

I was hoping to share Karen’s idea for painting with a mop as part of my Eric Carle birthday post but things kind of went off on a path of their own so I had to regroup on how to present this post without confusing everyone…

My little nephew, Wy, loves to wear aprons and he loves to sweep and mop floors. He drags out my dust mops and brooms every time he comes over without fail…

So after reading Karen’s idea, I thought it would be fun to share the book, “My Apron” by Eric Carle combined with a little mop painting…

Well, you need to know that Wy and I never got around to reading this book. I will save it for another day. But Wy did do some serious painting with a mop…

I spread two large sheets of paper on the driveway and gave Wy a “mop” or whatever this thing is with a handle and some washable tempera paint to paint with…

I also set out a large sponge so Wy could explore a variety of “painting tools” …

I hadn’t intended on Wy getting so messy, but since I usually have trouble getting Wy to paint, I just sat back and let him explore…

Wy went from mop painting, to sponge painting, to shoe painting…

And then the shoes came off…

And he started foot painting…

And hand painting…

And crawl painting…

And head painting…

So much for Wy’s aversion to paint. I really think we just needed to find the “correct tools!”

Here’s Wy’s finished painting. I plan to let it dry then we will recycle the now painted paper into something else next time he is over…

By |2011-06-26T07:00:42+00:00June 26th, 2011|

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. Rashmie @MommyLabs June 26, 2011 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Haha! Head-long into painting! Love this idea. My 5 year old girl is in love with mopping and dusting and sweeping! This mop painting idea will go down very well with her!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 8:50 am - Reply

      I think we will try it again sometime and use different kinds of mops and brooms. He really enjoyed this experience so I want to use it again when we get the chance!

  2. Rachel Ann June 26, 2011 at 8:07 am - Reply

    AWESOME idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 8:50 am - Reply

      Thank you Rachel Ann;)

  3. Jennifer Hastert June 26, 2011 at 8:23 am - Reply

    What a great idea! My kids will go crazy with this painting opportunity. I cannot wait to try this! Off to get new tempera paint!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 8:52 am - Reply

      I had just bought some paint and I just used one tray (the red one) of paint and never added more since he was more interested in just exploring the paint rather than actually creating something specific 🙂

  4. Kristah June 26, 2011 at 8:56 am - Reply


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Kristah:)

  5. Leeanne A June 26, 2011 at 8:58 am - Reply

    WOW! I will never be able to keep up with you!! LOL This is so great! Looks like he had tons of fun with giggles galore!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 9:00 am - Reply

      I really didn’t set out to do so much but it was such a pretty day outside! I did get a giggle out of watching him 🙂

  6. Amy A June 26, 2011 at 9:11 am - Reply

    I love this! We have never used a sponge mop to paint, but I did cut a mop head into pieces and attached it to pvc pipe to make some giant brushes (not as giant as yours was here!) I love how the activity moved along from one thing to the next. BIG painting with BIG creativity! YEAH!

  7. Karen Harrington June 26, 2011 at 9:28 am - Reply

    WOW, you did it! It looks like your nephew had a blast. I have been looking for a child size mop AND broom but I’m heading the Dollar store in bit for the real thing! I LOVE IT!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Haha – it never occurred to me to buy a child sized mop! I loved your idea Karen:) Thanks for being so creative! I am thinking when I try this again that I will use a sponge mop and maybe even get the mop head a little wet so the paint glides on easier. Still experimenting with the idea!!

  8. [email protected] June 26, 2011 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I love it! So fun and so messy. I am sure he will remember this the rest of his life. What a great activity. And a beautiful end result too.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Thank you Laura! It was more fun for me than I realized it would be so I will remember it for sure!

  9. Teacher Tom June 26, 2011 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I wondered how long it would be before someone took up Karen’s idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 10:42 am - Reply

      Haha – I am surprised you didn’t beat me to it!!

  10. Pam June 26, 2011 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Full- body painting! We’ve never used full sized mops before, just the smaller handled scrubbers and car wash sponges. But I love the full sized idea! (hmmm…I’m thinking this may be a good activity for our “water day” where we play in the pools and sprinklers…for obvious reasons!)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 11:02 am - Reply

      Let the kids “swab the decks” with those mops! LOL!

  11. heather June 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    what a great idea! i bet one of those old school stringy mops would be great for this, too! and maybe even using some sidewalk chalk paint… i can’t wait to give it a try!!!

  12. Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Sidewalk paint is a terrific idea for the driveway or a parking lot!

  13. Scott June 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I think we could call this full-contact painting. What great fun!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 27, 2011 at 7:48 am - Reply

      Yes – it is a new type of sport – they need to include it in the Olympics!

  14. Debbie Clement June 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    The bigger the better??
    The more the merrier??
    I see BIG murals in his future.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 27, 2011 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Oh, I do too! I am loving the big mural process! I never knew it could be so fun!

  15. Elise June 27, 2011 at 12:12 am - Reply

    You are one awesome Aunt. This will be one of those experiences that will go into his life long memory bank. So much fun and creative goodness.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. June 27, 2011 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Thank you for that sweet complement Elise:) I am so lucky to spend time with Wy – he creates fond memories for me too:)

  16. Sophie August 14, 2011 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Brilliant, thank you so much for sharing this idea, we tried it with our son’s and it was a great success 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 14, 2011 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Yay – I am glad to hear that:)

  17. […] Mop Painting from Teach Preschool […]

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