Prep: 15 Minutes / Activity Time: 5-7 Minutes

Your toddler is now starting to figure out that she is causing the marks to appear from the writing tool she is holding in her hand! Provide her with many opportunities to scribble and draw on interesting and new surfaces and with a variety of writing tools. This outdoor activity will allow your child to experience a new way of drawing on a unique surface with a paint brush or paint roller, just like a grownup! Be sure to plan this activity on an “ok to get wet” day.

  • large box
  • ½" or 1" paint brush (e.g., house paint brush for painting trim) or small paint roller
  • toy sand bucket or plastic bin

Step 1: Gather a tall, large box or carton from your local grocery store or appliance store so that your child can stand up while painting on the box surface. Purchase a small paint brush (½" – 1") like one that may be used for window trim; it has a short wide handle that will be easier for little hands to manipulate and make marks that are easy to see.  A small paint roller also works well.

Step 2: Find a container that will be easy to dip the paint brush or roller into, like a toy sand bucket or a plastic container. Take everything outside and add water to the bucket.  

Step 3: If needed, demonstrate how to dip the brush or roller in the water and paint the box. Let your child go for it!

Step 4: Comment on what you see your child doing, talking to her about the marks she is making on the box or asking questions to engage her in conversation. Observe and comment on what happens to the water marks as time goes by (e.g., they disappear as they dry), or what happens to the box as it gets wet (e.g., it looks darker). You may even want to grab a spare brush and join in the fun!