At playgroup on Monday, I set up some eye dropper painting for the kids. I call it painting quite reluctantly because in actual fact it's more of a science activity than an art activity, but it does involve experimentation with colour and it's a great way to get children involved in an "art -type" activity who are usually a little reluctant to do so.
The other thing I love about this activity is the way it works on building fine muscle control, eye-hand co-ordination and cognitive abilities. It is also a great language developing activity because chidlren are usually so intrigued by what's going on, they want to talk about it. As I said earlier, it's a great way to get children to learn about colours and for children who are slightly older, it's an opportunity to experiement a little with colour mixing.
To do this activity at home, you'll need:
- Some eye-droppers. I bought the ones in the photo from an educational toy store for around 30 cents. They're really easy to use because they're long and the tops are really easy to squeeze, but any eye dropper would do
- Food colouring mixed into water. Less is more with food colouring, but you do need a reasonably high food dye/water ratio to get good colour. It's best to start with a few good drops and see how you go.
- Paper towel. The cheap stuff works quite well, but the more absorbent the paper towel, the more fun the activity is.
- encourage your child to do just a few drops and see what happens. If they're anything like my boy, they'll squirt the entire contents of the dropper onto the paper and end up with nothing but a soggy mess. It's all part of the learning though. Encourage them to go more slowly and see what happens.
- food colouring is messy and doesn't wash well, so a plastic cover for the surface you'll be using is highly recommended, as is a water-proof smock
- use only a small amount of liquid so that if it does spill, it doesn't go EVERYWHERE. Glass jars are a really great, sturdy container to use, but if you have some of those non-spill paint pots, even better