The toddler twosome enjoyed getting out into the sun to do some Cottonbud Painting
with their watercolours!
The only materials you need for this activity is some water colours (i used my edicol dyes and water but you could just use food colouring in some water too!) and cotton buds. We actually used some of the baby type cotton buds which we were given to us for a shower present before the girls were born but as we don’t use cotton buds with the girls i decided to use them for fun instead! Any old homebrand packet of cotton buds will do! You only need a few and probably have them lying around in the bathroom cupboard somewhere! Add some scrap paper or paper towel and you are set to go!
I utilised my old baby food cube trays as they can hold a few different colours and are shallow so the cotton buds sit there nicely and make it easy for little toddler hands to pick up and put down. You could use an ice cube tray, some recycled jars, yoghurt containers….anything that allows your toddler to access the paint easily and put the cotton buds in and out…they will mix colours but that’s half the fun!
My tip is you only want shallow containers for the younger toddlers and there may be some tipping involved…we do these sort of activities outside so we don’t need to stress about any mess which will take away some of the fun of the activity…it is all about experimentation at this age!
There was some discovery play at first as they had never really seen cotton buds before and apparently they are fascinating!
They soon worked out that they could dip the buds into the paint and then make patterns onto the paper and paper towel…
I like to add paper towel for younger toddlers as it soaks in the paint and makes some lovely patterns for them to enjoy….they also made patterns on the plain paper but were more interested in the paint soaking into the paper towel as they dabbed…fantastic for those fine motor skills!
Tara decided her favourite little toy of the moment would also like to join in the fun!
Ruby my sensory gal had to explore with her mouth also….of course i would never recommend that you leave your toddler on their own with cotton buds but with a little supervision and common sense you can certainly let them explore a little and have some messy fun with a new ‘tool’!
I find it much easier to have 2 of everything when we are painting at the moment as they both like to play in different ways and i am happy to encourage this (it saves many a tantrum too!)
Older children will love this activity too…i have seen many wonderful dotted paintings and creations using cotton buds during my time working in child care! A child’s imagination and creativity is a truly wonderful gift isn’t it?
Tara really seemed fascinated by the difference of the water paint running off the plain paper but not off the paper towel….it made for a great language activity as well as being fun!
Ruby spent a lot of time mixing her colours and dropping them onto the paper towel….she had a cotton bud in each hand for most of the activity! It made a great colour recognition activity too as we have just started talking about colours…i try to encourage language as much as i can during these activities to support Ruby with her speech development. I just use simple words such as ‘paint’, ‘red’, ‘blue’, ‘stamp’, ‘paper’ and ask simple questions as they both play.
We also enjoyed a little more fun with our thrifty pallet blocks using then for balancing and jumping practice today…can you tell i was trying to wear them out as i really, really, needed a good nap time that day…it had been a rough night! Guess what…it worked!The toddler twosome really do love their outdoor play….and the warm sun on a crisp Autumn day had us out there all morning!
And the more challenges and gross motor experiences i provide outside will hopefully lessen the desire for climbing inside…on everything! It is working a little but i just have to face the fact that i have 2 little climbers at the moment!
I hope you can give this one a try…it really is easy and you can reuse the paint another day…that’s what i love about water paint! Have a look in that bathroom cupboard at the back…i bet you have some cotton buds lurking there that you had forgotten about….why not turn them into fun for your kids today?