Craft · Messy Craft · Outdoor Play · Sensory Play

Tropical Fish Painting

Today A wanted to paint! Well, actually, she wants to paint every day, and would paint all day long every day if she could (and often does), but today I had an idea for something a bit different. And, as it was so hot, we took the craft table into the garden once again – yay for no mess in the house!

We are planning on going to see Finding Dory at the cinema next week and, as such, I thought we would do some sea-inspired crafts at home for a few days, especially as I am missing being by the seaside! We started today by painting some fish cut-outs; however, I did not want A to use a brush (partly inspired by a piece of work we saw in an art gallery in Pembrokeshire last week that A loved, and partly to try and encourage her to do more than just mix all of the paint together and make a brown splodge). Instead, I collected a range of household objects that could be used for printing. I wanted objects with different textures and different shapes, and objects that could be used in a variety of different ways.

I collected a toilet roll tube, an old toothbrush, some cotton buds, a sponge, some scrunched-up foil, a fork, some Duplo blocks, bubble wrap, a craft feather, some netting thing that I found at the scrap store a few weeks ago, a carrot, and a couple of potatoes that I carved shapes into (though simply using them without shapes would have been great too). This craft required no specialist items whatsoever, and virtually no preparation either. Perfect!

I laid everything out onto the table, along with a pile of fish shapes, and invited A and E to come and explore:


E wasn’t very interested and soon went back to the game he was playing (he doesn’t like getting his hands dirty!), but A became engrossed immediately. I cut a fair number of shapes (or at least D did; I love the holidays) but she still asked for more.

To begin with she simply tried to use all of the objects like a paintbrush, and coated the first few fish in a solid brownish colour. But, after a while, she began to notice the interesting shapes and textures that could be made with the different objects. She explored the ways in which each object could be used (stamping, dabbing, flicking, brushing). She reshaped some of the objects that I gave her, and experimented with different angles, sides, faces and edges.

The results were quite wonderful:



Once we had completely run out of fish, and daddy was refusing to cut any more, we turned to hand prints instead! I encouraged her to do them in green as I have further plans for all of this in the next few days and green hand prints will fit in nicely!


But first I need to tidy this lot!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

27 thoughts on “Tropical Fish Painting

  1. What as wonderful effect you have created here with the fish painting. Paints outdoors are no much more relaxed with no worry about splattering the walls and floors! Looks like the kids had a great time making their gorgeous colourful fish. A perfect way to prepare for seeing Finding Dory, I hope they enjoy the film too.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids


  2. What a gorgeous activity, encouraging the children to explore and find new techniques from the interesting textures provided. I love it! I also love your blog title and design, the whole thing really appeals to me. So glad to have found you via #countrykids


  3. What a great activity and so lovely to see how much your little ones loved exploring all the different patterns they could make.
    Interested to see what your plans are, a fish mobile maybe?
    Have you read Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister? It would be a lovely book to tie in with this activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t! I went to the library to look for that exact book, but they didn’t have it! I think I will have to resort to buying it though as it is the perfect book for this topic. We have done a few activities with these fish this week – we started with fishing (using magnets), and then did some counting and shape sorting. We have since made an aquarium/fish tank to hang them in (I am just in the process of writing up how we did it) πŸ™‚


  4. Lovely idea! My lot love painting and with the summer being here, I’m happy if it’s in the garden! We did hand and foot prints the other day but didn’t think of using other items for painting- thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS


  5. I’ve still not braved painting with my toddler, but outdoors looks like the way to do it! How wonderful to watch her explore and create all those different shapes and patterns. I love that she was still going when you’d run out of fish and you had to move onto hand prints. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday


  6. I’m going to steal this idea! And as we’re just had a trip to the aquarium it will be perfect.
    I love how one of yours doesn’t like to get dirty! My youngest is exactly the same, he freaks completely at hand painting! #countrykids


  7. absolutely love this! to the point I might try it tomorrow with the little man! it is going to be super sunny so we can get out and about : ) #KCACOLS


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