Pointillism Dot Art – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Pointillism Dot Art

Children use different circular objects to create dot paintings.

Materials Required

  • Sample images of pointillist art (Search for work by artists such as Georges Seurat or Paul Signac)
  • Cardstock
  • Pencils
  • Paint
  • Circular objects (e.g. corks, dowels, sticks, cups, wheels)
  • Digital pictures on cell phone or computer (optional)

Instructions

  1. Introduce pointillism: a method in which artists use lots and lots of small dots to create images. This is the same way the screens on digital devices work today! The pixels on the screen are just like the dots in a pointillist painting. Show some samples and tell the children that they will make their own paintings using only dots.
  2. Invite children to experiment with the different objects to create paintings using only dots/circles/spots. Ask them to look at their paintings from close up and then far away. How are they different?  Is there a certain point where the picture becomes recognizable?
  3. If you have digital pictures available on a computer or smartphone, try zooming in until you see the pixels. Is there a certain point where you cannot tell what the image is anymore? How does this compare to your painting?

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Using large white butcher paper, invite children to make a collaborative pointillist painting.
  • Invite children to gather their own circular materials from around the classroom or nearby areas to use for painting dots.
  • Substitute stamp pads or dot stickers in place of paint.
  • Allow children to experiment with dot painting on 3D objects (e.g. a pumpkin, book covered in butcher paper, small bucket or ball)

Links to Creativity

Fine motor skills underlie children’s ability to execute a wide variety of tasks, from tying their shoelaces to cutting out snowflakes. In this activity, children practice their fine motor skills through painting, which is both fun and educational. Importantly, research has found that young children’s fine motor skills significantly predict later academic success (Cameron et al., 2012; Grissmer, Grimm, Alyer, Murrah, & Steele, 2010). Activities like this may help young children to build their fine motor coordination for later success completing tasks such as writing.

Supporting research includes:

Cameron, C. E., Brock, L. L., Murrah, W. M., Bell, L. H., Worzalla, S. L., Grissmer, D., & Morrison, F. J. (2012). Fine motor skills and executive function both contribute to kindergarten achievement. Child Development, 83, 1229-1244.

Grissmer, D., Grimm, K. J., Aiyer, S. M., Murrah, W. M., & Steele, J. S. (2010). Fine motor skills and early comprehension of the world: Two new school readiness indicators. Developmental Psychology, 46, 1008-1017.

Contributor

This activity was contributed by the Bay Area Discovery Museum. ©2016 Bay Area Discovery Museum. For more information and resources see BayAreaDiscoveryMuseum.org

This activity was created in partnership with Power of Zero.

Pointillism Dot Art

Children use different circular objects to create dot paintings.

  • Sample images of pointillist art (Search for work by artists such as Georges Seurat or Paul Signac)
  • Cardstock
  • Pencils
  • Paint
  • Circular objects (e.g. corks, dowels, sticks, cups, wheels)
  • Digital pictures on cell phone or computer (optional)
  1. Introduce pointillism: a method in which artists use lots and lots of small dots to create images. This is the same way the screens on digital devices work today! The pixels on the screen are just like the dots in a pointillist painting. Show some samples and tell the children that they will make their own paintings using only dots.
  2. Invite children to experiment with the different objects to create paintings using only dots/circles/spots. Ask them to look at their paintings from close up and then far away. How are they different?  Is there a certain point where the picture becomes recognizable?
  3. If you have digital pictures available on a computer or smartphone, try zooming in until you see the pixels. Is there a certain point where you cannot tell what the image is anymore? How does this compare to your painting?

Try these add-on activities:

  • Using large white butcher paper, invite children to make a collaborative pointillist painting.
  • Invite children to gather their own circular materials from around the classroom or nearby areas to use for painting dots.
  • Substitute stamp pads or dot stickers in place of paint.
  • Allow children to experiment with dot painting on 3D objects (e.g. a pumpkin, book covered in butcher paper, small bucket or ball)
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