We made these paint pops a few weeks ago, but the weather has not been too warm, so they have been languishing in the freezer ever since. Luckily, it seems *whisper* that summer may be on it’s way? It’s been a lovely week and as today was one of the preschooler’s days at home, I thought it was time to crack out the paint pops for some mark making!
This is how we made them:
- squirt paint into moulds. I used a silicone ice cube tray (heart shaped!) but you could use any kind of mould. I think silicone makes it easier to get the paint pops out later but it’s up to you.
- break a lolly stick two thirds of the way down, but make sure it isn’t a complete break. You need an L shape so that the stick can sit inside the mould and so that the longer piece is left sticking up for little hands to grip easily.
- pop in the freezer!
So simple! I’d seen something similar on another blog (I forget which one, sorry!) but that method used string. As I wanted the preschooler to be able to control his paint pops, I decided sticks would work better. I also decided to use our Jolly Phonics kit once more, to help the preschooler with his letter recognition and mark making. As soon as he saw me setting everything up he was keen to get involved!
To start, I covered the Tuff Spot with shaving foam and popped six paint pops into the tray. I used the winow squeegy to spread the foam evenly across the tray and invited the preschooler to make some patterns in the foam. I showed him to to hold the paint pops by their sticks (I used short sticks to help with control and to work at those fine motor skills) and make patterns. He:
- made swirly round patterns
- made straight zig zag patterns
The preschooler talked about how the paint pops made shapes and patterns in the foam and he discovered that if he pressed a little harder, the paint pops left a trail of colour in the foam and on the Tuff Spot. I asked him if he would like to do some writing and he decided he wanted to write his name. We:
- wrote his name together in the foam, using a paint pop
- talked about the letters in his name and other things we knew that started with L
- found each letter of his name in the Jolly Phonics story book
- traced the letters in the book with our finger tips
- talked about the initial sounds of the colours we were painting with and wrote those letters in the foam
I then modelled each letter for the preschooler and he confidently wrote L and U by himself. He was not keen to try K and A at first but after a practise with tracing over the letters in the book, he had a go and made a really good attempt!
By the time we had finished mark making, writing, letter spotting and, of course singing, the paint pops were well and truly melting in the sunshine and the whole activity took on a much more sensory twist. The foam started to marble and the preschooler experimented with mixing colours and making more patterns. He also used the squeegy to spread the foam and his hands to explore the texture.
The preschooler really loved using the paint pops for mark making and it was a really lovely way to make shapes and patters and to practise his writing. The activity was enriched with the Jolly Phonics kit and we both loved the fact the paint pops and foams kept us cool on such a hot day! This is a great one to use for younger children too as the patterns and colours the paint pops make in the foam make it a really lovely sensory experience.