September 20, 2012

Painting with a Fly Swatter and Painting with Fingers

Painting with a Fly Swatter and Painting with Fingers

All you need to make this colorful picture is red and blue tempera paint, white card stock, and a fly swatter. In some areas the paint blended to purple making this an experience in color mixing too. 


  • I thought painting with a fly swatter would be so much fun. I eagerly squirted red and blue paint onto the paper and handed Calvin the fly swatter, but he just laid it down. So I picked up the fly swatter, smeared it in the paint, and smacked it on the paper to make a print.  Then I handed it to Calvin again.  He ignored it and painted with his fingers instead.

  • A few minutes later Calvin picked up the fly swatter. He held it upside down and made scratches in the paint with the handle.  Then he laid the fly swatter down, and went off to play.

  • So what started as fly swatter painting ended as finger painting, and it turned out very well in spite of my efforts.

I thought Calvin would enjoy making fly swatter prints since he loves banging objects on the floor, but the fly swatter was awkward for him to handle.  However, once I got out of his way, he had a lot of fun smearing the painting around the paper.  I still think he'll have fun making fly swatter prints, but he needs to be a little older.  So I'll put my fly swatter away for a few months and try again. 

Extending the Activity:

I bought by The Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg for Calvin, but it turned out to be the perfect book for me to read. Sometimes I need to remind myself there are no mistakes in art.  Only opportunities to do something different than you expected.

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Do you have a comment of a suggestion?  I'd love to hear from you.


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