October 4, 2013

The 'Round and 'Round Finger Painting with Black 'Sticks'

The 'Round and 'Round Finger Painting 
with Black 'Sticks'

For the past 3 months, Calvin, age two and a half, has been fascinated with making what I call 'the circular motion'.  It started with running circles in the back yard.  Calvin and I would run in a circular path while shouting 'round and round and round' ...well, you get the idea.  

Then he moved on to drawing the circular motion in the air, still repeating his 'round and round' mantra.

Next came making circular scribbles on his Fisher Price Doodle Pro.

(click for Amazon.com)

And his latest was the 'round and round' finger painting, which you see above.

Calvin is in the Controlled Stage of Scribbling.  As a former first grade teacher, I know scribbling is very important.  It is the first step in learning to write.  What follows is a very condensed explanation of the scribbling stage, which has three substages:

  • Random Stage:   child swings arm back and forth drawing random marks on and off the paper

  • Controlled Stage:   child can now stay on the paper and marks come in repeated motions, like 'round and round'

  • Naming Stage:     child uses wrist to draw and can make a variety of marks, often naming what they represent: a snake, a house, etc.

For a more detailed explanation of these stages and how they lead to writing, please look to the following references:


  • We started with blue.  As soon as I squirted the finger paint on the paper, Calvin began to make his circular motion over and over.

  • I added yellow, and as he mixed the two colors Calvin saw green in some places.

  • The last step was to add what Calvin called 'sticks'.  Actually they were black paper strips left over from another project.  I placed them on Calvin's art table just to see what he would do with them.   

  • I could tell Calvin was in the zone, and we made a second finger painting: this time green and red.

Extend the Activity:

If you're looking for other finger painting ideas, here are two good ones.

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

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