Tempera Paint Sticks Review

As a big fan of paint, I was not sure how to react to a mess free alternative to the paintbrush and liquid paint. Tempera paint blocks or cakes, you know the ones:

They are still popular in classrooms and centers but I find they don’t give great coverage. Sometimes students are frustrated by the wateriness of the paint. Learning to apply paint from a tempera cake, without ripping your paper with too much water can be a challenge! However, they have a time and place and are great to pull out quickly, with minimal cleanup.

Liquid tempera, you know the type:

It is great for coverage but can be messy to apply and clean up!

As a fan of the process rather than the product, my initial reaction to Tempera Paint Sticks was the hope that they would not replace the process of painting, which I believe all children need to explore, learn and enjoy.

I am a huge fan of oil pastels and wondered if they would be similar.

Turns out they are even more awesome! They are smooth to apply as they glide over the paper and yet they look like a glue stick. They dry almost instantly with full coverage. Check it out:

My daughter’s reactions were funny. Daisy said “Oh these are cool, they are kinda like a crayon and kinda like an oil pastel.” and “they go on really easy”.

Rose said “awesome” and “can we use them later?” when I told her to get ready for the bus.

They were both engrossed in their art.

They are so easy to apply, drawing is a natural reaction to using these paint sticks, as you can see from the photos.

We applied liquid watercolour paint on top of the tempera paint sticks and it stayed put. Not bad for newsprint paper!

The paint dries almost instantly so artwork can be taken home the same day.

Let’s face it there are times when you want great colour impact but don’t have time to pull out the paints. These tempera paint sticks give the colour impact without the mess of paint or the smudging of oil pastel. What more can I say?

Fairy Furniture

This time of year always makes me think of fairy magic. I think it is a mixture of the leaves changing colour, hearing acorns and apples dropping unexpectedly and the dew and frost on the ground in the morning. A little bit of fairy building can encourage this magic.

You need:

We discussed what furniture Daisy would like to make and she decided on a table and chairs. We looked at how a table and chairs were made and we decided that two benches would be easier to make than chairs. We used our fingers to measure distance and then cut our sticks to the appropriate size.

Once we had all the sticks for the table, the low-temperature glue gun came out. Daisy was nervous about this so I explained how to use it: hold it like a gun and gently press the trigger, avoid the end as it is hot and don’t touch the glue because it is also hot. While it was fairly easy to use, I did not account for her nervousness. She got a little glue on her finger and that resulted in me doing the rest of the glueing. I will give her the opportunity to try it again in a few weeks.

So we worked together, I glued and she stuck.

She had problems seeing the steps to making the furniture so I broke it down and explained what part we were making. The ends of the benches are above.

After Daisy glued the skinny sticks onto the top of the table and benches I added a little more glue to reinforce the corners.

Adding a few apples, shells, acorns and berries completes a party feast fit for fairies.

Learning Opportunities

  • Math: counting and sorting, measuring
  • Art and Design: planning, organizing, building structures, colour
  • Science: balance, solids and liquids, temperature

Coffee Filter Flowers

This is a super easy craft and relatively mess-free! I am always on the lookout for easy crafts to give to the care-giving ladies at my Y Neighbours group. The group is for moms to socialize with other moms while the care-giving ladies take care of the preschool children for two hours. The ladies who look after the older children are retired (for quite a long time) and do not like anything with liquid glue, paint or crafts that require lots of cleanup. That limits the crafts ideas I can come up with; I like mess!

My friend came over yesterday with a craft to do with our kids. She even brought the supplies!

You need:

What to do:

Fold the coffee filter in half and half again.

Colour a pattern using the washable markers. Hold the markers on the paper making sure the ink travels through all 4 layers of paper. Finding the happy medium between pushing on the markers and just letting the ink travel and soak through was difficult. Maybe singing a line of a song while holding the makers in place would help? We got the kids to check the ink was soaking through after each mark was made.

Here is the fun part: with a paper towel or newspaper underneath, spray the filter until it is fully wet.

Unfold the filter carefully, blot with paper towel and leave to dry. It takes about an hour. We were going to take them outside to dry but the wind on the prairies would blow them away. If you have no wind they would dry outside very quickly.

You can probably spot the mom’s efforts and the kids. We tended to organize and ensure the pattern followed the circle of the filter. The kids just had fun exploring the colour. The less structured filters did make better flowers.

When the filters have dried push a stem through the middle and make a fold 1cm from the end to stop the stem from pulling out.

Scrunch the paper into a flower and wrap part of the stem around to hold it in place.

Add a craft stick and wrap the remaining stem around the craft stick. The kids did need help with this to get the stem tight enough to hold the stick in place.

Liam who turned 2 in June was very pleased with his flower. As you can see the kids’ flowers were prettier than our structured versions.

What a beautiful bouquet!