Allowing the children the freedom to use paint and other materials as they choose helps their creativity and development in many ways.  Because they come when they choose, they are more engaged.  This allows for a longer period of time spent on the project, which helps with extending their attention spans.  Allowing the children to use them without adult direction opens the possibilities for creativity and learning that is developmentally appropriate for each and every child.


This child began painting.  As he painted he started to use watercolor and tempera paints.  He looked at the orange spot in the middle of his black paint and said, “Hey! Look!  Its a bug!”…


He pointed to it, and as the other children heard his excitement, they came running to see the bug…

The other children came along and started making bugs with him….

we grabbed the bug specimens that we have in our class to help the children continue in their bug creations.  We looked at the insects, talked about what they were, and this helped the children relate what they were making to which bug they said it was….

They would put their “bugs” on top of the bugs that they made…..



This lead to some block play.  They took time to stack and count the insect blocks.


As we continued there were several silent moments where the children carefully investigated all of the details of the insects…..


As we talked, the children said, “the bugs walk on the trees”.  We immediately grabbed a tree branch for the children and they began to glue their bugs on the branch.

As the morning progressed, different children would come and continue to add to the project….






And as the gluing continued, the materials that they asked for grew……

Before we knew it they were working on collage work!  Carefully and quietly taking materials and gluing them to the paper.

Writing and drawing, and continuing to glue….


We were happy to see even some of our youngest children in this class become so engaged for such a long period of time.  The insect study, writing, gluing, stacking, counting, and conversation was all directed by the children.  This project was so rich in concentration and enthusiasm.  Children are capable and full of potential, and when we follow their lead we find ourselves doing so much more than any teacher could have preplanned.

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