Painting with cotton buds: process or product?

Great kids painting ideas

This week we’ve been experimenting and painting with cotton buds. It turned into a great lesson in how the process of painting (or any kind of art or play) is just as (more?) important for children as the end product.

painting with cotton buds pointillism

I’d told the children about Georges Seurat and how he used pointillism to create pictures that looked so different when viewed close up or from afar, and wondered if they might like to try out the technique for themselves.

cotton bud painting flowers

The technique took a lot of concentration and was a challenge, as the children had to conceive their design but then apply a precise method to achieve it. I left them too it, to test out the idea and see what they could come up with.
painting with cotton buds butterfly

They created flowers, butterflies and letters.

painting with cotton buds letters

And then they explored what else they could do with the cotton buds.
painting with cotton buds colours

They swooshed and swirled and spread the paint – on the paper and on the paint trays themselves. The picture at the top shows the gorgeous colour patterns they made in the paint.
cotton bud paintings

So much process going on! The end product was some colourful art work but I know they enjoyed the doing without any care really for what they finished up with.

painting with cotton buds ideas

What we did end up with though was a pile of colourful cotton buds. I wonder what we can do with them?

super sensory footerSuper Sensory Invitations to Play

Ready for a whole year of exploring through the senses? Super Sensory Invitations to Play is a delightful resource that encourages your children to explore the five senses through the year, using a wide variety of sensory materials. It includes 52 invitations to play, linked to the festivals and seasons of the year, and including water, ice, dough, rice, paints, sand, sensory tubs, and more.

They are easy, simple, and fun ideas that you can use right now to give a multi-sensory boost to your play and learning. It comes with a printable recipe book featuring all our favourite recipes for play. Come and see more here.


    • Cathy @ NurtureStore says

      Hi Rachelle. The children doing this were 5-8yrs old (sometimes I’m with 2s and 3s too)

  1. says

    Process, process, process all the way with me for early years (they will make beautiful things anyway amidst their experiments I always find).
    Fabulous post!

  2. says

    …great Process I’m going to steal the idea and use the technique in my own work. I’m not sure Georges Seurat would approve but I’m sure the children enjoyed it and learnt a great deal. Reminds my of a time (last term) when we introduced Jackson Pollock to a bunch of 8 year olds – they certainly left their mark on the classroom walls and floor. Oooops.

  3. says

    What a brilliant idea! I love your refection on the process vs end result. Very true, especially for younger kids whose “product” may not be perfect! Thanks for sharing this with us at Rub Some Dirt On It!

  4. jennifercrisp87 says

    Just tried this with my 2 and 3 year old girls, they loved making all sorts with them, especially caterpillars and treasure trails and “ants footprints” we had lots of fun, thankyou for the idea :-)

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