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Ingredients: large roll of white / brown / newspaper, washable paint, paintbrushes or rollers, plastic trays or lids, lots of printable toys – cars, toy snake, stamps, old cabbage / broccoli / potatoes, sponges or polystyrene (which can be cut into interesting shapes), bubble wrap, feathers, shells, leaves, old toothbrushes, and anything else you fancy

The Big Sell: Roll up, roll up, and visit the printmaking station!

Strategy: Really straight forward this one, just teach them how to roll or paint onto their ‘stamp’ of choice and they’re away printing to their hearts content.
The interesting aspect of this activity is how popular it can be with children who are reluctant to engage in arts activities. My youngest generally resists arty crafty stuff, but I set this up for him today and he loved it! Even though he got a bit upset about ‘getting my hands sticky’ at one point, I simply left out the wipes in a calm relaxed way, and explained he could clean his hands if he wished but that the paint wouldn’t hurt him.

Verdict:
I used this activity at a Family Arts day I was running yesterday at a local museum, and it proved popular with all ages. Therapeutic and quite scientifically mesmerising, it really draws together the skills involved in exploring texture, pressure, movement and pattern. The final image often looks wonderfully chaotically abstract and can capture children’s imaginations, whilst all the toys can go straight in a soapy washing up bowl.

Catchphrase: ‘Neeeeeooooooow! Screeeeeech! (The sounds of the cars driving through the paint)

Left wanting more?

When your paper is dry draw back into the images, like looking at cloud shapes – what can you see?

Alternatively cut into tiles and create your own jigsaw trying to piece it back together.

Leave out sponge alphabet letters (I got a pack in Tesco’s cheap the other day) to encourage literacy play.

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