This Play Invitation introduces one of the many different ways to manipulate and move paint.

By holding a hand broom vertically to paint, children can develop dexterity and stability in their hands. They can also develop concepts such as verticality, texture and versatility – all while having fun creating big, textured marks on the paper.

What Could Lead Us to This Play Invitation

  • Children have been curious about painting using vertical strokes;
  • Children are excited about using tools other than brushes;
  • Children have been exploring textures and ways of creating them.

Materials Needed

  • Tempera paints
  • Paper
  • Hand brooms
  • Paper plates

Setting up This Play Invitation

  1. Pour tempera paints of various colors onto paper plates. The plates can be on the floor, on a table, or on a bench in the work area.
  2. Attach a paper to a wall or easel. This can be done outside or inside.
  3. If doing this inside, cover the floor with plastic or newspaper.
  4. Children can wear a smock or an old shirt to prevent them from getting paint all over their clothes.

    Tips: There are often great hand brooms at the dollar store.

How to Create the Painting

  1. Invite children to dip the broom in the paint and create marks on the paper.
Child uses hand broom to paint on vertical surface

POSSIBLE NEXT STEP: You can offer other household items, like cleaning brushes, to explore mark-making using vertical strokes.

Child holding cleaning brush while painting on large hanging paper

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

  • Children have the right to work in different positions. It is important to offer explorations that allow for different body positions: sitting, kneeling, standing, crouching, belly down or up, on top of something, etc. This allows children to gain a greater perception of their bodies in relation to their surroundings.
  • Children have the right to step outside the confines of a proposal to follow their own explorations. In this Play Invitation, for example, children may want to go beyond the use of a broom and try to paint with their hands. It is important for the adult to focus on the children’s learning process and not on an expectation associated with the proposal and its outcome.

The Academic Learning Opportunities

  • MATH: Develop directionality and spatial awareness.
  • LANGUAGE: Build new vocabulary, using language to share ideas.
  • PHYSICAL: Develop hand-eye coordination, and core and back strength.
  • ART: Develop imagination and creativity.


  • Collect materials with your children – such as leaves, sticks, feathers, sponges, and twigs – to create your own original paintbrushes.

Book Recommendation

I am an Artist Book Cover

A fun book that shows how inspiration can come from anywhere.