Monday, January 26, 2015

creating with a kid: paint with your feet

We spend a lot of time outside but this time of year on the Oregon Coast can get a little bleak with days and days of rain. And while I have all kinds of fun and creative projects to keep Lucy busy and inspired, I save few of the really special (and messy projects) for days (like the grumpy ones) when everyone needs something extra special to work on! One of those special projects is painting with our feet and let me say that letting your three year old paint with their feet is not for the faint of heart but it is a really fun way to get creative and let loose with your kids. 

This is the kind of activity that requires a little set up and clean up time. Even though I am the queen of making a mess I still lay down paper or a drop cloth before we dive into painting. 

TIP: This is also a great outdoor activity for warm days and much easier when it comes time to clean up! 

You can paint on just about anything large enough to walk on- paper (I like butcher paper or brown painter's paper), fabric, canvas or even cardboard. Paper surfaces can get slick with paint (it's easier to slip around) while canvas and fabric are less slippery.

I love using my bare feet but Lucy is not into it yet so we grab a pair of summer shoes (that can be washed) and let her go crazy with them on. 

TIP- You can also get really creative with putting different things on your feet- bubble wrap, socks or anything that will create unique pattern or texture on the surface.

We start by dumping acrylic paint onto the surface- this step might be Lucy's favorite because she seems to love having the control and ownership dumping out all those bottles of paint.

Then I let her go crazy in all that paint- walking, marching, stomping and dancing! 

More paint is dumped and more craziness is had!

And don't think painting with your feet is just for kids...this kind of project is for anyone, any age especially those who might need to blow off some steam or let loose!


If you or your child is not comfortable getting dirty or messy with your feet, at least try using your hands to apply paint! This is a great way to get yourself accustomed to what it feels like to use your body.

Blast your favorite music! Using your body to paint is all about expression and movement and having music on will make it even more fun.

Embrace expression and abstraction! Painting with your body is more about the experience and painting in an abstract way. Try to forget about things looking and feeling perfect and instead give yourself permission to get lost in the process and the mess.

Just let go, enjoy the moment and forget about the giant mess that is happening. The worst case scenario is that you have some cleaning to do when everything is over! 

You can read my entire series of "creating with a kid" posts HERE


Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

Too Fun!

Kim said...

I am loving it!

Kim said...

I am loving it!

Jill said...

My kids LOVE painting with their feet (and hands) too. When we filled in our pool this year I let them go at the pool with paint before they demo'd it...and it was so much fun. You can see some pictures here:

Virginia said...



Well done, so pretty! you did great job Alisa :)

Unknown said...

Such a lovely post! Seems like you both had a very good time. It looks so fun.
Carpet cleaning Putney

Anonymous said...

Great idea!

Kathleen Kibblehouse said...

When I grow up I want to be your daughter!

Ellyn said...

this is so great! my 18 year old daughter has chronic nerve pain that especially affects her feet & hands. As part of her "therapy" she will paint her hands and feet then make art dancing around, etc. it's painful for her to do but brings her joy!

Anonymous said...

Alisa, If you have the time later would you mind posting a picture of the final piece? This is wonderful!

sue said...

So cute!!

Jo Murray said...

Lucy looks so intent. She knows what she wants to do.

Arthur said...

Absolutely fabulous what an encouraging way to get your child to mentally release the creative energy that we are all born with. Hopefully she already understands how and why she is "getting into it" You are one of the best Mom and making that connection with music is so very important for this little artist to understand as it only grows and grows from there Bravo!!!!

Brig said...

Ha ha! My 3 year old LOVES covering herself in paint. Being in a warmer part of the world (even in Winter it's not too bad) – Perth Australia – she can take her clothes off and lies down on the paper for me to draw around her, uses her hands to paint the paper, her arms, legs and stamps around with her feet quite happily. I keep a rectangular bucket of water and old towel on the floor next to us when we paint so she can rinse off between colours or if she feels overwhelmed by the paint. She quite often ends up trying to sit down in the bucket which sends water everywhere so half filling it is a much better idea now ... Ha ha!

izzie said...

Hi Alisa! Your blog has inspired a trip to the coast, I am planning a graduation trip for my husband to Seaside in August. He wants to take a surfing lesson, any suggestions on where to look? Thanks!

studioGypsy said...

love the mess!! such a perfect idea with kiddos... will attempt to be brave and share this with my littles! :D xoxo

Tricia said...

This looks like so much fun! Great pics!Thanks for sharing

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