What do you need?

Scrape painting

Summary:  a simple idea for applying paint which can inspire lots of experimentation and creativity!

Set-up: 5 minutes
Play: 15-30 minutes or more
Complexity: Easy, but lots of extension possibilities


  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Old credit cards

What to do

Place blobs of paint on the paper, and invite your child to use the credit card to scrape and spread the paint across the paper. Talk to your child about what you both observe about this technique – how the paint moves, the feel of resistance, how far the paint can spread (can it reach the other side of the paper?) Ask your child if they can hold the credit card in other ways, if they can make other kinds of marks, what happens when two paint colours mix. Then try the activity again, this time letting your child take control of decisions such as where to put the paint blobs, and what colour paint. What kinds of artwork can they create with this technique?


Invite your child to try to write their name by scraping paint.

Experiment with cutting grooves in the side of the credit card, what happens now?

How would you use this technique to paint a rainbow? A tree? The ocean? Later when the painting is dry, your child might like to add details such as leaves and tree blossoms, or ocean creatures.

What learning does this activity promote?

Creativity, imagination, experimentation, observation, fine motor skills.


Dr Vicki Hargraves

Vicki runs our ECE webinar series and also is responsible for the creation of many of our ECE research reviews. Vicki is a teacher, mother, writer, and researcher living in Marlborough. She recently completed her PhD using philosophy to explore creative approaches to understanding early childhood education. She is inspired by the wealth of educational research that is available and is passionate about making this available and useful for teachers.

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