5 WAYS TO USE THE ACRYLIC EASEL
Whether you own an acrylic easel, or plan on purchasing one, it’s useful to know that it is used for a lot more than just painting! Most of its multiple uses keep children distracted while also working on their fine motor development (this refers to the small muscles in their hands/fingers). Why focus on fine motor developement? Very simply put, good fine motor skills help children with one of the most fundamental skills required in school: writing! (among other things) The stronger these muscles are, the earlier and easier it will be on children to start holding pencils correctly and have stronger control over tools like scissors and pencils. Now…back to the point! 😁 Here are 6 ways you can use the acrylic easel to help your child strengthen their fine motor skills:
The most obvious and common use of the easel is for painting. Holding a brush and wrist movement while painting helps children develop control over holding tools like brushes. We get asked frequently which type of paint is recommended for the easel, and we recommend Tempera/Gouache for kids. They come in big bottles (which means you don’t have to purchase paint every 10 minutes 🙈) and are quite thick when used on the easel. You can find these at most big stationeries around Cairo/Giza like Bakier or purchase them on Amazon EG (here is a link: https://www.amazon.eg/-/en/febracolor-10071TP001FL-031-ETAFELT-Tempera/dp/B09T38691N/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2S5IJ5JAQ5DGV&keywords=tempera+paint&qid=1653117754&sprefix=tempera+pa%2Caps%2C273&sr=8-1) You would need to purchase each bottle/color separately, but they are 100% worth the investment! We have been using these bottles for over a year and they are still 70% full 😂
- STACKING MAGNATILES
Our easels (both the mini and large one) come with a frame that is magnetic (only ONE side of the frame, and not the Acrylic itself -just to avoid confusion!). This makes it easy for children to stack magnatiles. This is great for younger children who still cannot use magnatiles to build, and also useful for older children to work on things like forming patterns (AB, ABB, and ABC patterns are terms most parents are familiar with if they have school-aged children).
- SPRAYING AND WIPING
Do not underestimate the willingness of children to clean, especially if you give them a spray bottle! 😂 This is an excellent tool to improve fine motor skills and children absolutely LOVE it! Everytime the children paint on the easel, I prepare a spray bottle filled with water and give them a small towel to wipe the easel clean when they are finished. You can find these spray bottles at any big supermarket (like Spinneys and Carrefour) and also at Ikea and Homecentre. Trust me on this…the kids will probably enjoy cleaning more than painting!
- WRITING/DRAWING WITH WHITEBOARD MARKERS
One of the benefits of the easel is that whiteboard markers are eraseable. Children who enjoy drawing or writing can use the easel to make drawings (and you can purchase colored whiteboard markers so that they can use different colors as well). If it’s difficult for them to wipe the markers, you can also find a special spray (whiteboard eraser spray, found at most stationeries) to help make the wiping easier on them with no adult intervention.
- REUSABLE STICKERS
All children love stickers. That is a FACT. 😂 Reusable stickers are an AMAZING option for little ones since they can be used over and over again with no expiry date! Bad news is they are not found in Egypt, but you can purchase them on online pages (we got ours from @the.littleoneshop on Instagram) or if you know someone coming back from abroad. You can peel the stickers off for the little ones who still cannot remove them themselves and place them in a tray to be used over and over again. I also like to add a little bit of water to them to make them ‘stickier’ and easier to use with the kids 😊
If you are thinking about which size to buy, this will all depend on the space you have available and how compact you want the easel to be. The mini-version is easy to transport and fits into the sensory table boxes to contain the mess, but the larger size gives children a bigger canvas, keeping them distracted for longer. 😊