To encourage children to explore some different painting techniques in your outdoor space, there is nothing more engaging than being able to make your own paint. That can be as simple as mud paint (more of that tomorrow) or you can try making berry paint.
Berries are in abundance at this time of the year and obviously not all of them are safe for children to work with. So, you would always check the berries you are using and have the conversation with the children about how some berries can be dangerous.
I stuck to using familiar berries like raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
You need to be able to extract the juice from the berries (the fun bit), so you will also need something to squash them with. I used a pestle and mortar.
I also encouraged the children to add some water to the mix, using their outdoor urn and these side handled pourers.
Once you have squashed them they will have lots of bits of skin and seeds floating about. This can be great if you want to explore texture and also talk about the deconstructed properties of the berry.
If you want a ‘smoother’ paint – and for me, it was about adding in another process, then you can strain your berry paint.
I used really cheap jam strainers, but if you haven’t got one then a fishing net will do the job just as well.
The jam strainers were on offer from Ocado, the silver bowls from IKEA and the copper jugs from a car boot sale.
Once your juice has been strained, then you can paint with it.
Different berries will give you different concentrations of juice, so sometimes you will get light coloured paint and sometimes dark.
Once the children are familiar with the process, they will go back again and again to make more – squeezing out every last drop!
On that note, some berry juice may stain – so check that before you start or be prepared to send children home with red and purple hands!
If you have got any paint left over then you can always keep it for future use.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be berries, you can also (try) and make paint from grass, leaves..anything you can grind up or squish. Although the paint is a great outcome at the end, the processes that the children are exploring in the creation of that paint are brilliant.