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  • Keith

Weekly Activities. Week 4 - Natural Dye Printing


Teaching the children how to make a natural dye print.

Links to EYFS:

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development

  • Communication and Language

  • Physical Development

  • Literacy

  • Mathematics

  • Understanding of the World

  • Expressive Arts and Design


The children started off by gathering some natural materials to use for dye printing from around the site. They looked for plants, leaves or flowers with a high water content, not ones that were dried out or decaying. Once they'd found their materials, the children made a pattern on one side of a folded line on a piece of cloth. They then repeatedly hit the cloth with a hammer or rubber mallet until the natural dye visibly bled through the top side of the cloth.

When we opened the cloth and discarded the excess plant materials we were left with some stunningly beautiful symmetrical dye patterns.

We encouraged the children to think about symmetry and what else they would like to print. We counted our materials as they were placed onto the cloth and photographed them using the nursery tablets. We also talked about how to safely use the hammer and mallet, to be sure of keeping fingers out of the way and of having enough space around us to use it.

This activity proved very popular with the children and they all made some really lovely prints (plus they seemed to quite like the hammering part!)

Home Activity:

Talk about symmetry with your child and to help explain, use a mirror to put objects against to show them the mirror image (i.e. use the bottom of the mirror as the line of symmetry). Alternatively, fold a piece of paper in half and ask your child to paint a lovely picture on one half of it. Fold the paper in half onto the paint, press down and then open to see a perfectly symmetrical painting.

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