Friday, February 24, 2012

Don't Rain on My Parade

It has been one of the coolest and wettest Summers in recent memory here. As a result there have been less opportunities to venture outside than is usually the case. Although anyone who knows me will realise that a little rain won't keep me from taking the children outside.

Recently during one particularly heavy downpour the children noticed some paintings that had been left outside to dry. The paper was tearing and the artworks were ruined. I asked them what they thought would happen if we painted on something harder, that wouldn't rip or break if it got wet, then left that in the rain. Here is the result  of that discussion and the ensuing experiment.

We turned some chalk boards over and painted on the reverse. The children thought these plywood items would be safe enough to get wet without damaging them.

An additional benefit from this exercise was the turn taking and sharing taking place. With only two painters per board at a time the others watched and waited for their turn while those painting continually swapped paint pots in order to use the other colour. Furthermore, those watching offered suggestions to those painting, such as where to apply their paint or how much to apply in anny given area.

When the painting was completed we took them out to the verandah and looked for the best spot to place them so that they would get plenty of rain, but we could still watch how they were being affected. As it turned out, the rain had subsided somewhat. Yet we were determined to  continue with our experiment. Two of the children chose to rest their artworks against the outdoor tables while others were placed under a tree and against the fence.

As you can see, the rain caused the paint to run a little, but we were surprised how well the paint kept its form. Yes the rain had eased, but I for one still figured it was still heavy enough to affect it more than it did. I guess I learned something too. At least we were right about the boards surviving the wet weather.

Science meets art, or is that aert meets science. Either way, there's lots of multi-discipline learning going on here and not just by the children.


  1. Love it! Brett Whiteley painted an amazing picture of a lush forest with, I think, a bird or two in it... and it rained on the painting (he was doing it in the open air). I've never seen such a beautiful painting... the drips just added to the forest feel.

    Have you tried using water sprayers at the easel on painted but still wet paper? That would create a similar effect, I think...

  2. Thanks Agony Aunt. I have use spray bottles, but the children tend to go overboard on the paper. I picked up a huge roll of corregated cardboard last year from Freecycle. Cutting pieces of that worked quite well, including some very big group artworks & this was with toddlers.

  3. What a great practical activity for all concerned to get involved in. I love that they all look so engaged in the activity too. I think you ahould be very proud of the fact that you are not all caught up on being 'in charge' all teh time & allow the children to feel very valued.

  4. Don't you just love it when the children know better than us 'Bear'? ... And isn't that more often that not too!!
    I love that you learned right along with them too.
    Donna :) :)

  5. Well I have so much to learn from them Donna ;)

  6. Aww, thanks for linking this one up Greg :)
    And for not pointing out my typo in my earlier comment!! Kierna

  7. Unlike some I could mention Kierna (wink) I am not a spelling and grammar cop. As for the link, I wish I had more I could link up each week.