As we were doing this activity, I realized this is kind of like the Sensory Path activity with the added bonus of you getting a cute keepsake at the end. I like to plan painting projects when I need more artwork to make thank you cards with and since Riley just had her first birthday, this was the perfect time for this activity. For the DIY thank you cards, I take blank, folded cards and add a piece of Riley’s art to the front. Use a little stamp that says Thanks or do some hand lettering. Viola!, you’ve got a cute thank you. This way the sender not only receives our thanks, but can keep a piece of Riley’s very own artwork to hang on their fridge. I typically laminate her artwork before sticking it to the front of the card so they can remove the art from the card without damaging it.
- Bubble wrap
- Paint (I like to use Crayola washable project paint)
- Cardstock (We used three pieces of cardstock to this activity)
- Mat, plastic table cloth, or you can also cover the area with parchment paper
- Painters’ tape to tape down the plastic table cloth or the parchment paper
- Set up your paint area. I didn’t feel like putting out the large plastic table cloth, so I just covered the area I needed in parchment paper. I taped it down with painters’ tape.
- Put your paper down. I didn’t tape the paper down because I didn’t want the tape to stop the paint from covering the paper.
- Pick out your paint colors and add dabs/globs of paint onto the cardstock. I like to spread the dabs of paint out all around the paper so that the paper is evenly colored in the end.
- Cut out your bubble wrap to fully cover the cardstock. Place the bubble wrap over the top of the paper and paint bubble side down. When your child presses on the bubbles from the other side, you want the bubbles to leave imprints in the paint. Tape the bubble wrap down. I ran out of painters’ tape so I had to use packing tape. Looks like I’ll be doing an amazon order. Maybe this time, I’ll get myself a reusable, waterproof mat for sensory and arts/crafts activities too.
- Let your little one explore!
For whatever reason, painting activities, specifically mess-free painting activities, don’t hold Riley’s attention for as long. This just means that I engage more and keep making small changes or adjustments to keep her engaged. The paint area in the beginning kept Riley interested. She doesn’t have the strength to pop the bubbles with her fingers yet so she scratches instead. She pressed her hands into the bubble wrap around the edges of the paper. Then she decided she wanted to play with the jars of paint. So, I took the jars of paint and put them on the opposite side of the paper to encourage Riley to crawl or walk over the bubble wrap to get it. It was interesting watching her pause and think about how to get the jar of paint. She didn’t naturally crawl over the bubble wrap. She started to go around the paint area. I had to encourage her to crawl over to let her know it was okay. That was all the encouragement she needed to sit, crawl, stand, and eventually walk over it. There was a momentary distraction when she saw another baby outside playing and went to the door to watch. After a moment, I brought her back to the play with her walking toy. I had her push the walker over the bubble wrap. That got a few pops out of the bubbles! We did this a few times back and forth, until she didn’t need the walker anymore. She just walked over the bubble wrap herself--picking up a paint jar, and putting it down along the way. Lastly, I grabbed a rolling pin and had her try rolling it over. That was exciting and new for her. I think I’ll need to do more rolling pin and painting-maybe wrap the rolling pin in bubble wrap. Hmm…
I had a lot of fun demonstrating to Riley how popping the bubbles would spread the paint underneath. Anyone else love popping bubble wrap? The end product looks pretty cool with the bubble wrap imprints!
- Fine motor skills: Popping the bubbles is hard work and requires a lot of strength from the hands and fingers.
- Gross motor skills: Encouraging your child to walk, jump, crawl, and roll over the bubble wrap not only helps make beautiful art, but also encourages gross motor development!
- Cognitive development: Sensory play encourages stronger neural connections to be made as more senses are involved.
- Problem solving skills: Since the bubble wrap can be hard to pop, your child may have to figure out other ways to pop the bubbles-scratching, pounding, walking over it, rolling, sitting, crawling, using other tools, etc.
- Language development: Talk to your little one about what they are doing. This helps build your child’s vocabulary while giving context to what they are doing. They may hear color words (purple, yellow, pink, etc.), sound words (pop, scratch, stomp, bang, etc.), and other words and sentences about the activity such as “wow, look at the paint spreading underneath”.