Creativity doesn’t just depend on how we use materials, but also on the materials themselves.
In this proposal, we go to the kitchen to look for a tool that will allow us to create the most incredible effects with paint.
While exploring concepts such as texture, pattern, trail, and drag, children develop creativity, flexible thinking, and fine motor skills.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about trails and patterns;
  • Children are excited about using tools in unconventional ways;
  • Children have been exploring lines.

Materials Needed

  • Tempera paints
  • Paper or cardboard
  • Cake scrapers and kitchen scrapers
  • Tape

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Collect cake scrapers with different patterns. They come with a variety of comb shapes and sizes that are used for giving cakes texture. And they work beautifully with paint!
  2. Attach the paper to a tray or table so it doesn’t move while the children are painting.
  3. Place the paints inside squeeze bottles close to the paper.

    Tips: You can find scrapers at thrift stores and on clearance. If you don’t have squeeze bottles you can use brushes or spoons.
Materials set out for paint scraper painting on paper

How to Create the Painting

  1. Invite children to squeeze the paint over the paper.
  2. Using the scrapers, children can spread the paint, creating beautiful trails and patterns.
  3. Let children compare the results from different scrapers.
Child uses a cake scraper to spread paint around paper

POSSIBLE NEXT STEP: Try the same technique using combs.

Child painting carboard using a comb

How to Nurture the Natural Unfolding of the Child’s Identity During This Play Invitation

  • Children have the right to learn when they are interested and ready. They do not learn simply because we’ve developed a specific proposal. In this proposal, the educator can draw attention to some painting characteristics – yet, children may notice something completely different from what the adult expects, and their learning may take another direction.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • MATH: Develop directionality and spatial awareness, patterns, and geometry.
  • LANGUAGE: Build new vocabulary, using language to share ideas.
  • PHYSICAL: Develop hand-eye coordination.
  • ART: Lines, color perception, and mixing.


  • Make sure you have brushes in your painting area with different textures, sizes, and shapes. This will support children in continuing to explore the relationship between materials and their marks.

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