Art That Looks Like Science, and Things Get a Bit Fishy

We are all artists and no one knows it more than a young child. That is why one of my favourite ways to create with children is to present a grouping of art supplies and then get out of their way. Often I put down materials in front of children and hear, “What do we do? Can I touch it? Do I have to use this or can I do it with my hands? What is this?” And I get to say, “What would you like to use? How would you like to start? Yes, you can touch it, yes get your hands in there.” By letting a child’s interest guide the process we can foster their curiosity and build their confidence. Let’s get excited about art this summer!

What do we need to get started? Over the next few months, I will make art supply suggestions that I have loved using with children. This month’s art item is the small but mighty pipette. I bought mine at our local IGS.

Why I love using Pipettes: It makes you feel like a scientist! For children who love creating, using pipettes and any coloured liquid provides an opportunity to extend the length of time one art project can take. This may look like your child exploring colour theory by mixing liquids or just taking the extra time to master the use of a new tool. For children not usually interested in creating art, pipettes provide an engaging tool compared to a paintbrush or crayon.

Pipette Activity
A simple activity to explore colour and texture.

pipettes, foaming shaving cream, liquid watercolour and a few small dishes or a divided serving tray.

Like all good things, this can get messy so pick a spot that allows for this. Show the child how to use the pipette and then step back and allow them to lead. *tip: Take old dried up markers, group together in like colours and place upside down in a glass half full of water. Wait a couple days and you will have liquid watercolour.

June Art Challenge – The Fish Banner
It can be so much fun for a child and a parent to collaborate on a project together. In June many of us are working on our garden or spending time in the backyard. So here is a simple banner project that can be hung in this outdoor space. With your child, decide if you want the colours to stay inside the lines so that the viewer can clearly see the fish. If you know your child will engage more with the project without those guidelines, acknowledge it before the project begins. That way you are not having to correct the child, which may interrupt their own process and exploration of the materials.

Fish Banner
Parent and child collaboration level:

Age: 0 – 2.5 yrs guided parent project with child

Age: 2.5yrs – 5 yrs supervised by parent

Age: 5yrs + give colouring directions and supplies to child


- A bed sheet from Salvation Army cut into banner sized pieces.

- A collection of various bingo dabbers from the Red Apple store (may stain) and Grow Toy store (recommended for children)

- Watered down tempera paint (to draw outline of fish)

Parents can draw the outline of a fish. Let the paint dry before the children add colour. This project can be done outside on the deck but you might want to put a piece of cardboard underneath the cloth to ensure the colour does not stain the deck.