Sensory Art, Messy Play for children with Autism
Painting it Yellow, A Sunny Day
UPDATED for The Emotional Wellbeing Project
Messy painting is a great way to engage children in a sensory activity that can help them to develop their motor skills, communication and emotional regulation whilst at the same time using most of their senses in some way.
Not all children enjoy getting messy, and messy painting, like with any sensory activity should not be forced upon a child as this will then hamper any of the benefits that you would receive.
There are different paintbrushes and tools which can be used for the paint, this is a great way in for children who do not like to get their hands dirty and can still experiment with the paint.
The lesson plan I have attached details the benefits and learning opportunities for this activity and the photos below show the different painting activities and how they can help to develop your Childs emotional wellbeing.
Paint it yellow – A Sunny Day
Using straws to blow paint around a piece of paper is a great activity to do with 2 or more children. It gives opportunities for them to work co-operativiely and enjoy a shared experience.
Blowing bubbles is great for your oral motor skills – for those that need help with speech. Adding paint and then printing the bubble patterns is great fun…. just be careful not to swallow it.
Dripping paint either on a small scale on a piece of paper or on a larger scale using trays or directly on a wall can have a mesmerising effect as the paint falls down. It is good for working on cause and effect and on a larger scale can be a great activity for movement and developing motor skills.
Accidents happen. A lot of the time children are very upset when they spill things or do something ‘wrong’ knowing that sometimes things happen that are out of our control and that they can be fixed is an important lesson for everyone.
Feathers are a really good sensory tool, not only to paint with but to use as a tickle/massage tool.
Walking in the paint, although messy is great fun, by making sure you have enough space and wipes/tissues/ tub of water at the ready to clear up you make it a lot easier. The paint is very slippy to this works well if you want to develop proprioception and movement as well as for those seeking touch. Little ones love it too!
Printing from one piece of paper to another
Using thick paint as a medium to make marks in is very messy but can be a great activity for children of all ages and even adults. Any tools can be used to make marks in the paint or even fingers. This helps to develop motor skills and is also good for people seeking sensations of touch
Chalk is good to use as an alternative to paint, it is easier to get out and pack away and has completely different textural qualities.
Putting another piece of paper on top of thick paint can make a really interesting result with some interesting sensory experiences. Feeling the paper instead of the messy paint underneath can make it a safer option for people who do not like mess and as the paper slides about, rips and leaks through the sensations will change
Footprints and Handprints are a great way to get hung children and children with additional needs to experience the paint. Often a paintbrush can make it a little more complicated (and not as messy) Sometimes children will prefer to use a paintbrush as they don’t like the feeling on their hands and feet.
Rolling pins are good for making different marks in paint, if you do not have one with patterns you can add string or elastic bands to make patterns. They are a good way to add heavy movement to an activity for those that need grounding.
Playing with paint and having it on your hands and feet can have a calming effect on some children. It can also have the opposite effect depending on their personal preferences
Having fun getting his hands dirty doing some sensory art and messy play
Blowing bubbles using fairy liquid and paint is a great way to make marks on painting in a different way. And it is great fun
Adding in felt-tips, cotton wool, sticks and other mark making tools all help to vary the experience.
Sticky cotton wool
Making a mess is half the fun… and most of the sensory experience!
For a kit to use at home with various tools for messy painting take a look at my Etsy Store.