Drip drop painting at the easel

We keep a whole set of pipettes in our outdoor classroom for all sorts of exploration and so today, we set the pipettes out at the easel for the children to practice using the pipettes through a little drip drop painting…

We set out four colors of liquid tempera paint and added just a tiny bit of water to each color so the paint would flow through the pipettes a little easier.  Not a lot of water, just a tiny bit…

I often needed to stop by the easel when a child began to paint to show them how to squeeze the pipette first then set it down into the paint and let go so the paint would suck up into the pipette…

Some of our students stayed at the easel for a very long time exploring the pipettes and the drip drop painting process…

And like most days, we often had two or more children at the easel painting together…

The one thing I didn’t think of was to add a tray or towel under the easel to catch the drops of paint that landed on the floor.  It washed up easily enough at the end of the day but perhaps if you try this, you will want to add something to catch the paint as it drips down to the floor…

I know many of you will ask –  “Did they squirt the paint at each other?”  I suppose this is possible but my students stayed highly engaged in this process and only squeezed the paint onto the paper….

Some of the children decided they enjoyed this so much that they came back to the easel to drip drop paint several times…

This little one liked it so much that she decided to pull up a chair and stay awhile! Soon, she decided it was easier to reach her paper if she stood at the easel, but when you want to make yourself comfortable – you have to at least give it a try….

If you don’t have pipettes, you can see a link below as to where pipettes are available on Amazon. So who out there is brave enough to try this with me? I mean – look at how those kids are focused on the process – absolutely remarkable!

Available on Amazon


By |2012-09-12T10:00:23+00:00September 12th, 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. Vicky @ Mess For Less September 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Love these! These would be cool to do in the backyard so I can just wash away the dripped paint with the hose. Pinning now!

  2. cathie j September 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    A small tarp works great for under easels or plastic table cloths. So far, no accidents reported from their use.
    Cathie at toddlersthroughpreschool.com

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2012 at 12:36 am - Reply

      Such a simple solution Cathie:)

  3. amber September 13, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Ok we love this and the littles are so cute and engaged here!

  4. Libby September 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I’m a new teacher so I am always looking for ideas. This week we are reading “Watch Out!” about a little mouse who gets into a lot of messes because he doesn’t listen. This messy painting project was perfect. This was a first experience with droppers for many of the kids and they were so interested in how the whole thing worked. The pictures turned out great and I got lucky with my easel, the tray that holds the paint caught all the drips. They were so engaged in painting that it didn’t occur to anyone to squirt paint anywhere but the paper. Thanks for the wonderful idea and the great website!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Oh Libby,
      I love this! I will have to find that book too! I am so excited to know you tried it and that your students had the same experience as mine did!

  5. Linda September 14, 2012 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Me, Me, Me! I’m brave enough. We need to decorate some paper some way to make planets for our Space scenes. This would look awesome. (Plus I like to watch my EA cringe lol ;))

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 14, 2012 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Haha – I love it!

  6. Nia September 14, 2012 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Oh my! You are so creative and resourceful. I love to watch your creative ideas. But don’t forget to remind children to put their smocks on before painting. Thanks for the wonderful and interesting website.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 14, 2012 at 11:53 am - Reply

      Wearing a paint smock is optional in my classroom. I have them hanging down low on hooks beside the easel and beside the water table but I have found that a constant focus on “worrying about getting messy” often times makes children choose not to participate. So I show the children where the smocks are, how to wear them, and at times, encourage them to throw one on. Some of my students will stop and go and get a smock on – they even prefer it. While others will stop what they are doing and choose not to participate if I tell them they have to go and get a smock.

      • nancy c dunnagan September 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm

        Totally agree! I let my parents know that we are so busy being creative that we don’t always get on smocks! I have them hanging on the easel for optional use. I also encourage parents to send their children in play clothes!

  7. Chris September 14, 2012 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Love it. Definitely on my (I mean our) to do list!

  8. nancy c dunnagan September 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I love this!! I do something similar when making a flower garden. With green paint, kids drop spoonfuls onto paper at different heights. They then hold the paper up so that the paint drips down. After it has dried, they make flowers. Your idea reminded me of that! I am going to try your drip drop idea this coming week!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      The flower garden is a super cute drip painting idea Nancy!

  9. […] Drip Painting– grab your easel and pipettes and your set! […]

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