Sunday, February 11, 2018

Frozen Paint

During winter, sensory experiences involving things that are frozen or cold are a natural fit. When there’s snow, that can lead to days of exploration in the sensory table. And there are all sorts of other materials to freeze, including paint.

Freezing paint is easy – just fill small paper or plastic cups with tempera paint (Biocolor brand works well -, put in a craft stick (large ones work best), and put in the freezer. Even better, if the outdoor temperature is below freezing, put it outdoors in a safe place, to give the children the opportunity to observe what happens as paint freezes.

When I first started using frozen paint in my classroom, I thought of it mostly as an art activity. As the children move the paint popsicles across the paper, it leaves creamy, crayon-like marks. As the paint warms, it starts to melt into a thick gooey paint.

Over time, as I introduced this activity to different groups of children, I noticed that the children’s interest in frozen paint focused more on the sensory aspects than the art ones. The most interesting feature of the paint wasn’t how it looked on paper, but what happened when it melted. I started putting the paint out on trays, not just for easier clean up, but so children could fully experience the tactile sensations of moving the goopy paint around as it melted.

The paint swirled and layered on the paper, and began to soak through, transforming paint and paper alike. 

And before too long, the paint “popsicles” transformed and fell off their sticks, melting into the familiar texture of paint, to spread on paper with sticks and hands, or to simply enjoy the sensation and feeling of paint on fingers and hands.

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