Body painting has become something of a tradition at Elm House for the youngest children. I offer this activity to all of the youngest children, and to some of the older children if they have interest. I usually make the children’s first paint experience at school one that involves their whole body. That means clothes come off, butcher paper is put on the floor, and paint is squirted all over the paper.
In a previous year I reflected that the focus of this actvity is on bodies. I had come to this activity many times in the past thinking that the children were putting paint on paper using their bodies as a tool. Now I see that actually, the children are exploring their bodies and paint is the tool!
Thinking about the body painting activity in this way might help me to understand why some children take to this activity more readily than others.
Because this is such a sensory experience, if the texture feels off to a child, they may be turned off to covering their body with paint.
In the past I’ve offered these children trucks or animals to put in the paint; however, this was with the perspective I had that the point of the activity was to put paint on paper. If putting paint on paper is not the point, what could I do instead? I wonder what other substances the children might like to explore with their whole bodies. Do you have any ideas?