Working on an idea I encountered first online here and here, and using the recipe for squeezing paint from MaryAnn Kohl’s book First Art, we had a blast exploring squeezing paint out of bottles and onto paper. The basic concept is as simple as it sounds: just squeeze paint. There’s a lot for young children to explore, however, from learning how to regulate how quickly the paint flows from the bottle to trying to moving the bottle around the paper while simultaneously squeezing. And of course there are all the funny noises the paint makes when the bottle is almost empty.
We used the recipe from First Art, which calls for one part salt, one part flour, one part water and enough tempera paint to give it color. This made the paint thicker and grittier than regular paint, giving texture to the squeeze paintings. The texture of the paint itself was an object of fascination to many of the children, particularly the youngest participants who were the most likely to touch it in the first place. We had several children who were far more interested in simply touching the salty paint and playing with it on their fingers than they were in squeezing.
We had a wide age range, from toddler to about six or so, with the consequent range of ideas and abilities. The younger children were happy to just explore squeezing out the paint to see what would happen, while the older children wanted to “make something”. For some of the children five minutes was all the time they needed to experiment with squeezing. Other children were very intent and deliberate about trying every color of paint and every method of using it. One girl carefully filled several monochrome papers with each of the different colors before she was ready to put multiple colors on the same page. Another child immediately wanted to experiment with letting the thick paint mix with several colors, and was surprised when it did not mix very well. Some of the children remembered last week’s print making and wanted to see how the thicker paint reacted to the printing process. There was a lot of great exploration.