Cupcake flowers on the easel

As I have recently shared, we have been exploring a few easel starters and this time, we started out with a cupcake holder on our paper…

Cupcake Flowers

As I have with all easel starters so far, I prepared the easel paper in advance.  For this activity, I glued cupcake holders on sheets of easel paint paper the night before and then set them out under the easel for the children to use.  I also set out blank sheets of paper for those who didn’t want to paint on the cupcake easel papers…

On this occasion, I introduced this process to my younger students for the first time. Initially, they were not sure what to do with it so I partner painted with one of the children to demonstrate how I can use the cupcake holder to create a flower.  Once we got going, the children totally got it and it took off from there.  Perhaps after a few runs at this, the children will be able to think of their own ideas but for now – they are enjoying painting along with me and doing a terrific job at expanding on the initial idea I share with them…

I have discovered that it is best to use a process like this only if you have a way to lead into it – especially when you first introduce the idea. For example, reading a book about flowers then inviting the children to paint would have helped frame the activity a little better. I just assumed the children would get it but because I hadn’t framed the activity beforehand, they needed my help to get started…

While some children painted a flower, others chose to use their cupcake holder as a starting point to create a design. This was awesome too because they were still creating something rather than just mixing all the colors into one large blob of paint…

Be sure to keep in mind that my children have been freely easel painting most of the school year. I do not recommend adding easel starters if students are new to using an easel. Let the children first explore the painting process and the color mixing so they are satisfied with that part of the process before adding an easel starter…

As I mentioned earlier, I also left out plain paper for those who preferred to paint without the easel starter. Not every child wants to paint around or over an object, although the majority wanted to.  And I must say, this painting turned out quite beautiful too. I think the addition of easel starters is at least influencing the kind of painting taking place in our classroom overall…

My youngest students are still working their way around understanding what to do with an easel starter but it has given us all some quality time for painting together and having conversations about the easel painting process…

And in the end, I must admit, I got the biggest thrill out of hanging so many beautiful paintings across our wall…

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By |2012-04-23T07:00:55+00:00April 23rd, 2012|

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. lori April 23, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

    it’s our week for “flowers” as the children have taken a grand interest the past weeks in the blossoming school gardens. i am so adding this activity to our classroom . this is fabulous fun and i think my three’s will love it. (as much as they did the “sticky rainbow on the easel” activity i borrowed from you a bit ago 🙂 ) thanks for all the cool projects you share.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      Yay! I am glad you will give this a try. Don’t forget, if you can introduce the concept of a flower first then they might make the connection a little better!

  2. Veronica Velazquez April 23, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    What kind of paint do you use? From the pictures it looks like nice thick paint. Also, I notice it seems like your children never wear aprons. Does the paint wash off clothes? I am not a preschool teacher, so I don’t know these “trade secrets” but I do love your site and all the inspiration it gives me for things to do with my 3-year-old.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      It is just a liquid tempera paint you can buy by the gallon from Crayola. That is the brand I like the best but you can’t water it down to try and make it last longer or it loses that nice creamy texture.

  3. Janet T. April 23, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

    I’m still chuckling about the “large color-mix blob” description. I’m oh-so- familiar with that project.
    I can’t tell you how invigorating it’s been to receive your subscription. I used to do easel starters, but I’d run dry on ideas for it. Now I’m excited to do them again. I’ve really enjoyed all the new ideas.
    Thanks so much!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      I was trying to think of a more diplomatic term to describe the blob – but that is the only word that came to me:) I am having fun trying to drum up little easel starters but sometimes it can be harder than it looks!

  4. Teresa rebelo April 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    So nice! Thanks for sharing! I like these queques forms1

  5. yvonne September 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Love the idea of ‘easel starters’ ,I will be using this idea in my classroom. Thanks

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