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Making Prints

Children are very curious about printing and the ability it gives them to make many identical images. To start experimenting, gather some small household objects (such as plastic forks and spoons, vegetables, or designs cut out of sponges) and put some tempera paint in a shallow pan. To make a print, simply dip an item lightly in the paint, making sure the surface is covered. Then press the object (paint side down) onto some thin absorbent paper. Lift the object and press it again in another spot. See how many prints you can make from one coating of paint. Also, experiment with lighter or harder presses. Make some wrapping paper by printing again and again on a large piece of butcher paper. Let the paper dry and use it to wrap a favorite gift!

Then try making prints using different sides or angles of the same object. For example, make a print by pressing a paper clip flat against the paper. Then, make another print using one side of the paper clip. Play a game where your child makes a print while you close your eyes. Then try to guess what object was used to make it.

For an outdoor extension activity, notice the prints your shoes or bare feet make on different surfaces like sand, dirt, and grass. What surface makes the best footprints? What happens when you walk on the same surfaces with wet feet? Notice how your prints look different depending on whether or not you are wearing shoes. (Children are often surprised to notice how their bare footprint looks like something "took a bite" out of it!)

Related Video

Related Books

Animal Tracks, by Arthur Dorros.

Whose Footprints? , by Masayuki Yabuuchi.