What do you need?

Get creative with plastic and paint

Summary: combine plastic film with paint for some interesting sensory play!

Set-up: 10 mins

Play: 30 mins – 1 hour

Complexity: Easy


  • Gladwrap film
  • Paper
  • Sellotape
  • Paint

What to do

Place a piece of paper on the table. Place several blobs of different coloured paint on the paper. Pull out a piece of Gladwrap the same size as the paper and tape it down over the paper. Encourage your child to squish and squeeze the paint through the plastic. Can you move the paint across the paper? Can you poke it? Press it? Squash it? Swirl it? Watch how the paint spreads under the pressure of fingers and hands. Can you mix the different colours?


A variation on this activity is to make sensory bags using paint or shaving foam in a ziplock bag (you can tape this to the table too). Or make up a paste using 1 cup of flour, 6 tbsps of water and food colouring. Put into the bag and smooth the bag shut so there are no air bubbles. Zip up and tape the opening securely shut! You can place small items such as buttons, small leaves, googly eyes or foam shapes inside too. Let your child explore with their fingers and hands, or offer them a cotton bud to use to draw and write letters and numbers in it. 

Turn a clothes airer on its side and wrap grad wrap around it. Encourage your child to paint on it. This makes an interesting change from painting on paper.

What learning does this activity promote?

Sensory exploration, vocabulary, experimentation, observation, colour knowledge, fine motor skills

By Dr Vicki Hargraves


Dr Vicki Hargraves

Vicki runs our ECE webinar series and also is responsible for the creation of many of our ECE research reviews. Vicki is a teacher, mother, writer, and researcher living in Marlborough. She recently completed her PhD using philosophy to explore creative approaches to understanding early childhood education. She is inspired by the wealth of educational research that is available and is passionate about making this available and useful for teachers.

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