Magic pictures

I love this activity because it is easy to set up, fun and allows us a chance to be outdoors on a hot day (I generally like to do messier activities and all painting outdoors so that the post activity clean-up is easier).

My eldest daughter is 4 years old, which means that there is so much that is still magical to her. In this activity she actually thinks that the paper has hidden pictures on it and gets extremely excited when she figures out what they are and comes rushing over to tell me each discovery. For this reason, I draw the pictures when she is not around. To extend this activity you could draw lots of smaller pictures (instead of one big picture) and ask your child to hunt for them. You could also write words, sentences or messages for your child to decode if they were a little older. You could use any size paper you have at home. I like using bigger flip chart size paper because it is more novel and therefore makes it more fun for Ella but a roll of paper could be fun as could regular A4 paper.

You need a white wax crayon or oil pastel and you would need to find a spot in the house where the lighting is such that you can see what you are drawing (light reflecting off the white waxy drawing) otherwise it can be quite tricky. Then all you do is draw a picture on the paper with your white crayon or pastel. Give your child the paper and some paint (I used a few drops of food colouring mixed with water but water colour paint works well and so does regular children’s paint that has been watered down a lot). For this I activity I chose 4 colours but you can use as many or few as you would like. I used a fat paintbrush but for a smaller piece of paper a smaller brush would be better.

The only guidelines I gave her were to not paint the same area with more than one colour, to spread the paint around and to wipe the paintbrush on the side of the paint jar before painting… basically you don’t want the paper to get too saturated because then it would tear.

These dry very quickly on a hot day and I would recommend making a few so that they can extend their activity time.

I struggle having clutter in the house (read bits of old drawings, old hardened playdough and other childhood treasures) so when these are done you could perhaps use the pictures for a purpose.

  • Laminate or frame any great pictures for your child’s bedroom
  • Make into a card or picture for a friend or relative
  • Laminate and use a marker to draw a grid on top of the picture … this makes a lovely homemade sticker/reward chart
  • Laminate and give your child a dry wipe (whiteboard) marker and they can draw, erase and redraw any picture they like. They could also trace the original picture (tracing is an extremely valuable skill to learn and will assist them in strengthening many pre-writing skills for school.

Wishing you a magical week.


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