Construction Painting with Drills

| |

While the majority of our educational activities are based in the Montessori Method, sometimes I like to add a bit of Reggio into the mix.

One of my favourite aspects of the Reggio Approach is the use of provocations. A few months ago I set out this easy construction provocation which encouraged a few experiments, but the most exciting had to be our attempts at painting with tools!

Reggio provocations are always based on a topic that the child has expressed interest in, and the idea is to provoke the child into deeper exploration of the topic and topics related to it.

Ella and Mister E have been loving The Ultimate Construction Site Book, and have long been interested in balancing objects and building with blocks, so I thought I’d set out a simple provocation on construction.

I wanted to provide a variety of materials, so that the children weren’t limited in their exploration, but also to encourage experimentation. For example, providing three different types of adhesive would allow the children to experiment and see if certain adhesives worked better with certain materials and projects.

Construction Provocation Materials:

  • Toothpicks
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue Sticks
  • Clear school glue
  • Blue sticky putty
  • Scissors
  • Broken toy drill with a paintbrush attached where the “bit” used to be (can also use a real drill with a paintbrush switched out for the bit)
  • Meat mallet (textured hammer)
  • Plastic screws and wrench from our Design and Drill



While we had a few experiments with the toothpicks, popsicle sticks, pipecleaners, and adhesives (which I’ll share soon!), the work that Ella kept returning to over and over again was painting with the construction tools.

I got the idea to use screws for stamping and rolling in paint from our subscription to Hipporay Activity Boxes. It’s a great pincer grip reinforcer while also giving the opportunity to practice shape recognition.

We also liked using the rubber meat mallet to “hammer” a fun print onto our art work.


However, the biggest hit had to be the homemade paintbrush drill that I made out of a broken toy drill!

I simply hot glued a tiny paintbrush to where the drill bit had broken off, but you could use a real drill and place a thick, stubby paintbrush in place of a drill bit.

The kids had to practice using gentle pressure to get the drill to create the beautiful patterns they wanted. Those beautiful waves and loops above were created with just the right amount of pressure.

We observed how the drill was able to rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise, depending on the setting the drill was set at, and how pushing light or harder on the drill’s trigger switch had the paintbrush move slower or faster.


The drill paintbrush can also be used to blend colours together, and it was fun for the kids to try to control the outcome of the drill’s painting. It was good for my perfectionist daughter (don’t know where she got that from) to practice going with the drill’s flow, and balancing being an active and passive participant in her own art making.

(Check out our post on using art in developing emotional intelligence, if this is something that resonates with you.)

This was such a fun activity, we will definitely be revisiting it again — I think we’ll try a real drill next!

I’d love to hear your thoughts — what other materials would you let your child paint with, or add to your own construction provocation?

PS – check out my friend Clarissa from Munchkins and Mom’s post about her experience painting with tools!


Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.