Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

Activity 4: Responding to Music with Paint

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Music CDs or tapes, and player
  • Cafeteria trays or large sheets of aluminum foil or glossy paper for all participants
  • Tempera paints or finger paints
  • Optional: Pudding to use as paint, large #10 cans
  • Newspapers for covering worktables
  • Optional: Large sheets of paper for making monotypes of tray designs
  • Buckets of water and sponges, rags or paper towels for paint clean-up

Preparation for Activity

  • Choose stirring music such as "Pictures at an Exposition" or "Night on Bald Mountain," classical music, or world beat music such as African drumming. You may wish to play a variety of musical tempos and moods.
  • You will need access to one or more water sources, ideally, large sinks.
  • Have tempera paints or finger paints ready to use. Another medium is to use pudding as finger paint. It makes clean-up very tasty! (Just be sure to use it on trays or foil; pudding will sink into paper and become a soggy mess.)
  • Cafeteria trays make ideal surfaces for playing with finger paints. Borrow them from a school or a restaurant, or obtain extra-wide aluminum foil to make paint trays for all participants.
  • Cover worktables with newspaper. Set out trays, paints, water, and sponges (or rags or paper towels).

Description of Activity

By this age, participants' schools have usually put away the painting trays. Bring them out and let the children try it again! Try using paintbrushes and tempera, or finger paints and allow participants time for exploring movement using the paint instead of concentrating on a finished product. Invite participants to lay paint any way they want to directly on their individual trays, and improvise and change their designs easily, responding to the music.

If someone wants to keep a design, lay a piece of paper on top on the paint on the tray to print the design - a monoprint. Or, encourage children to simply wipe away their designs and make new ones.

Gather the group at worktables. Invite participants to work in their individual trays, using their hands to manipulate and move the paint to make designs that express the mood of the music, or their own mood. Encourage them to flow with the music and not worry too much about a finished product. Try several pieces of music which evoke different moods.

Leave time for participants to clean up. Rinse the trays of paint and wipe up spills on the table or floor with sponges and buckets of water. Roll up and discard the newspapers.