Tracing and painting shapes

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Maia has the croup, poor kid, and spent much of yesterday in a feverish lethargy. But she had a period of midday energy during which she asked for paints and paper. She sat down and traced baby bear onto her paper with a pen and painted in the tracing.


She then started finding other things around her to trace and paint, such as a roll of masking tape and a protractor. This reminded me of when we did tracings on the floor except that she really got into painting them this time. It was fun to watch the process!


The masking tape shape became a donut, then a lemon jelly donut, then she added arms, legs, and hair.



Here are her finished paintings — some incorporating tissue paper triangles left over from another project, some just paint, one with a title.


And here's that jelly donut girl. How fun! I love how she used the traced shapes as starting points for her paintings.

If you wanted to do something similar with your kiddos, you could go on a treasure hunt through the house looking for interesting shaped items to trace. Although the simple ones (masking tape circles, for example) hold lots of potential too, obviously.


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  1. says

    I love that she recovered to paint and then re collapsed! What is the black board underneath her work? We use news paper under painting but I imagine a permanent board would work much better and also be less likely to be eaten/ripped/etc by the wee helper!

  2. says

    I just have to say that sometimes when my kids ask me to paint, I say “no”. do you ever find yourself to exhausted to get out the paint/dishes, anticipating the clean up process? I feel guilty ever saying no… but aside from the tiredness, other times there’s just something else we need to do. Oh well, just thinking aloud.

  3. says

    Yep – I’d like to know the answer too this question too. Have you ‘trained’ Maia to tidy and get her own paper etc. Because I find myself constantly running from paper stash to pinning up the painting for drying to wiping up spillage …

  4. Rachel says

    thx for the vision for this one- how fun!
    and sorry about the croopiness… we’re very familiar w/croop- call if you need anything!

  5. says

    The black board is a piece of mat board. It’s a remnant from a frame shop that I got for free. They work great for under artwork and for using for art as well. A piece of poster board or just a large piece of cardboard would work, too.

  6. says

    Oh, sure! I’ve said no before. Usually I just try directing her to another project if I don’t want to deal with the paints and/or the studio is not in a condition to be used.

  7. says

    I’m still working on the training part. She knows how (to clean up, hang up her artwork, get her own paints and paper, etc) obviously — she’s five after all and we’ve been doing all this since she turned one. But she still needs reminders and I often end up doing some of it, too. I’m sure if I made a better effort and bigger deal about her cleaning up after herself, she’d do it just fine. Right?! :)