"Get Rid of the Box": how switching up traditional art concepts provided engagement for our Tiny Tykes!

July 31, 2020

As parents, family members or educators, we are often faced with the idea that everything we do for the littles in our lives has to be engaging, interactive and something that topped the interest of the activity from the day before.  We are encouraged to “Think outside the box!” and do things bigger and better, constantly evolving!  And if you are reading this and thinking, “Hey, that’s how I feel!”, you are not alone!  It is normal to want this sense of achievement, completion and doing something better than you ever have before.  If the children are engaged, you know that they are processing and learning, which is very exciting!

However… I invite you all to pose this question: What if it was simple?  What if programming or activities didn’t have to be an elaborate event?  What if switching one concept, one idea or one tradition turned everything around?

This is why at Tiny Hoppers Burlington, we took an action typically completed by our hands (ie. painting, holding a paintbrush) and move it to our feet!  This proved to be a fun challenge for our preschoolers as they tested their gross motor skills (flexing the muscles in their feet and toes) in a new and exciting way!


After a few minutes, holding the paintbrushes between their toes became trickier as their feet became tired.  Some of our preschoolers then extended the art and began adding their footprints and fingerprints to the chart paper as well!  They talked about the sensation of the paint on their extremities, the temperature of the paint, what colours they were mixing and so on and were asking questions like:

  • Do other humans use their feet for things?
  • Do animals use their feet for things?
  • Could we draw with our toes?
  • Could we write with our toes?

After we hung it up to dry in the classroom, the children have continued to refer to the art project as something “cool”, “fun”, “tricky” or “comp-i-cated”!

It just goes to show that thinking outside the box doesn’t necessarily mean some elaborate programming or activities have to be implemented!  Sometimes, it just takes some chairs, a few feet and curious minds who are willing to discover!