Tag Archives: paint

Ideas for Teaching Literacy through Play – Painting with Feathers

painting with feathersOn the way home from school we were talking about quills. My Harry Potter obsessed 9-year- old had made a quill by putting a biro refill into a feather.

My four-year old asked

Do we have any ink?

No but we can use paint.

We painted with feathers when I was little didn’t we?

We can do that tomorrow if you like. We could use the Peacock feathers we collected at Remlinger Farm.

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I set the paints up with a few feathers.

My 2-year-old suddenly declared

I wrote the word ‘buh’

Buh for bat.

She has been playing a Sesame Street alphabet game on the iPad and is beginning to talk about letters and letter sounds.

Her 4-year old sister asked

How do you spell bat?

How do you think you spell it? What does it begin with?


That’s right and what other sounds are in bat?

Bat….    t

Yes, so what is the middle letter?

Bat…b…a…t…..    a.     B..a..t spells bat.

After a little bit of impromptu literacy I had a brain wave. The girls are really interested in pirates at the moment and I thought we might be able to do some writing with feathers, make a pirate map or maybe we could make a wizard’s spell.

I stained paper with coffeemaking paper look old

When it was dry I singed the edges to make it look like an old scroll.


I asked the girls what they would like to do. They decided on a Wizard’s spell.

It will be funny because we don’t even know how to read and write……………. Maybe Wizards write differently to people.


writing with a quill

I think this would be a great way to encourage boys in their mark making.

  • Set up a desk in a role play pirate ship with ink and quills
  • Make a spell book for children to add their own spells
  • Add a few feathers and a small pot of paint to your mark making area
  • Make treasure maps and encourage the children to mark the treasure with an X.

Literacy for under 5’s shouldn’t be about sitting at a table learning letters, tracing over letters or using flashcards. It can be brought into any aspect of play and when children are ready and interested in letters and sounds they will talk about it, ask questions and experiment. Make it fun, make it relevant and they will learn.

Outdoor Play: Bubble and Straw Painting.

bubble paintingMy kids love messy activities but sometimes it’s just a little too much to handle indoors.

We decided to do some outdoor painting.

A small amount of paint, a squirt of washing up liquid and a few drops of water were mixed in our pallet.

I showed my 4-year-old  how to blow bubbles with a straw. We talked about the difference between blowing and sucking.

What will happen if you suck the straw?

I’ll drink the paint. Yuck!

It’s like the wind, the wind blows but it doesn’t suck.

blowing paint
We tried to make the bubbles come over the top. We found that we needed to blow gently. They still didn’t quite bubble enough so we carefully added more water and tried again.

We placed the paper on top to make bubble patterns.

placing the paper on a bubble printbubble print

Next she made a bubbly hand print.

Time to get clean.
Time to get clean.

When the paint overflowed onto the deck she discovered that you could do something else with the straw.


The paint moves and makes patterns when you blow it with a straw.
The paint moves and makes patterns when you blow it with a straw.


Blowing the paint on the paper with the straw made a whole new type of painting.

blowing paint with a straw