All parents want their children to eat more fruits and
vegetables, but the contents of your produce drawer can also be the
inspiration for a creative painting project.
The varied shapes and sizes of fruits and vegetables make ideal
"stamps." This project is a nice way to introduce children to the
technique of print-making.
Good choices include halved apples, pears, butternut squash,
limes or starfruit. Other veggies such as carrots or cucumbers make
nice circle shapes. A bell pepper with its top sliced off or a
mushroom halved lengthwise both create interesting images. Celery
stalks and green beans can be used like paint brushes. An ear of
corn can be rolled across the paper to create a textured
Remove any seeds or pulp before stamping, but keep in mind that
all parts of the fruit or vegetable can be used. For example, an
avocado pit can be submerged in paint and then rolled across
You could also carve your own custom stamp (like the initial of
your child's first name) into a potato half with a paring or other
sharp knife. (An adult needs to complete any parts of this project
that involve a sharp knife.) Select a large baking potato. Holding
it upright lengthwise, slice about a third of it off. On the flat,
interior surface of the potato, carefully draw the outline of the
letter or other shape with a marker. Using a sharp knife, cut away
around the outlined letter. Make your cuts about an inch deep. What
remains should be the protruding letter or shape. Use just as you
would any other stamp.
Spread out paper for stamping. I recommend using a roll of easel
paper to give your little artist ample room to work.
Put your poster or tempera paints into a wide, shallow container
such as a paper plate. Before you begin stamping, check the
consistency of your paint. If the paint is too wet, the fruit and
veggie stamps will slip and slide. To avoid this problem, add a
little bit of flour and stir to thicken.
Simply dip your fruit or veggie stamp into the paint and wipe
off any excess or soak a large sponge in paint and then rub your
fruit or veggie stamp onto the surface of the sponge before
stamping. Children might also want to use a paintbrush to apply
paint to their stamps.
Children's art projects should always focus on the process
instead of the final product. The objective is not to make perfect,
orderly stamps. Encourage your child to experiment. They can always
start again and try something different.
After all, it is hard to take anything too seriously when you
are painting with a head of broccoli.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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