How to use a brush Winter Style

This stated out as an exercise to teach the kids a few different ways to handle a brush and turned into painting a quick winter/Christmas picture because it fell into the week before holiday break. I did this with 1st and 2nd grades.

I showed students how to properly wash the brush. You should always assume your brush is dirty when you get it because you can’t trust the last person to clean it. Dip the brush into the water, tickle the bottom of the cup, wipe the excess water on the lip of the cup, and dab it on a paper towel and check if the water is clear or still dirty. Repeat as necessary. I told them that if I can hear them cleaning their brushes they are not cleaning it the right way and are in hanger of splashing.

Bad hair day brushes. If your brush looks like it is having a bad hair day you are using it wrong. I showed them how to properly hold the brush and how you can use the tip, side, and other angles to have a different effect.

We made fat lines, skinny lines, painted in large areas and used the brush to “stamp” in dots. Using these 4 things they were able to experiment by making a winter or Christmas picture.

PAINT CAKES are the best! I highly recommend paint cakes. You have a set or two for each table, so easy to distribute. The colors are vibrant and the clean up is simple. If the babies mess them up you just rinse them, it is beautiful.


I showed them how to use our new skills to make a snowman or a Christmas tree. Make a fat line, skinny line, paint in a large area, and use “stamping.” Since the paint cakes dry so fast they were able to take their pictures home for the holidays.



Aboriginal Dot Paintings

This is a super fun project that any kid can do. The drawings are simple as they were made by the aboriginals, and anyone can make dots.

I started out by showing the kids a map of the world. Kids know about the native Americans (hopefully) and the Aboriginals in Australia have similar culture. Discuss things about Australia and the Aboriginal life.

Students were fascinated about the Aboriginal symbols. They had lots of questions about them. We start out by using the symbols to write a story. They have to write the story in English and in Aboriginal. Once they have a story they can tell it to one another at their tables to see if they make sense to each other.

Then they use the back of their planning paper to sketch out how the symbols will be arraigned compositionally. Some symbols can be larger, others small. Can we repeat symbols to fill up space like stars or animals or trees. Symbols don’t even need to be right side up. Once a design is sketched they move it to a big brown paper, pencil first, outline sharpie. The symbols that can we colored in we used earth tones and made a list together what earth tones are and why.

Dots. As a class we practice making dots on a practice paper. Show them how to gently make the dots using Qtips. Show them how it to do it like to not bang the Qtip. Once they get the hang of it they can apply the dots to final paper!