Body painting, does it fill you with dread?

When one of our babies just loves covering themselves in any medium, pens, paint, food, drawing on their legs or rubbing yoghurt on their skin. Loving anything that makes marks on her body & skin, she is constantly covered in felt pen, food or paint!

Body paint

Instead of stopping this incredible capable learner, it is our role & responsibility to evaluate what she is doing & how we as adults can respond to this! Take notice of what is actually happening, not what WE THINK is happening.
At The Curiosity Approach, both Lyndsey and I feel that it is US as educators that need to adjust & change, to inspire curiosity, awe and wonder. Allow children the opportunity to be creative, think critically and to bring laughter into the lives of our incredible learners.

I am proud to say that my youngest trainee educator / practitioner also spotted this child’s style of learning and instead of halting the process, she extended the opportunities for learning by taking time out & covering the entire room & lower walls with paper.

This child and the many others who joined in later, had time & space to explore paint on a larger scale. The freedom to move, instead of being restricted by the confines of the table or even previous smaller sheets of A3/A4 paper. The freedom to pour paint from various bottles or use the body as a tool to create marks on the paper.

It was an utterly magical experience for children and staff. Sadly, my collection of photos is limited due to data protection reasons. However, the children loved this experience so much we will continue this into the following week.

We will extend if further by adding decorating rollers and authentic brushes and paint trays. Edible paint will be added for our younger babies too.

Yes, it was messy

Yes, the children were all covered in paint

Yes, they all needed bathing, (standing in a bowl & sponging down)

Yes, we went through a mountain of paper, towels and paint

Yes. the practitioners got covered in paint too

Yes, it took a long time to clear away afterwards


Whose problems are these?

Adult? Or child?

As practitioners and educators, we need to get away from the mind set of seeing problems and barriers instead of seeing the amazing opportunities and outcomes for our children.

STOP being lazy and only taking the easy route or option!

Remember why you got into this career, job or life path.

Start remembering the small child within, that curious and adventurous one. The inner child who loved painting their hands and getting mucky & messy.

Please don’t hinder our amazing learners their opportunities for fun and laughter, exploration and a sensory experience. Just because YOU see problems before opportunities.

Final tip based on The Curiosity Approach pedagogy,  take into account age and stage appropriate. We would not strip our non mobile babies down and plonk them in tough trays of paint, for them this is not an appropriate and self chosen sensory experience. Our little non mobile babies are finding out about the world around them. The soft rug they lie or sit upon. The texture of resources and loose parts. There seems a push to ‘plan’ activities for babies because we assume they need entertaining. 

Leave room for babies and infants to naturally unfold to make sense of their bodies and their surroundings. To have autonomy of experiences . 

Be mindful of the unfolding child. Child development and respectful care of the children we serve 

Be curious, HAVE FUN and make a difference!

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