This month’s Virtual Book Club for Kids selection is Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, and Ella and I were challenged to come up with a name activity inspired by the book. This DIY Rainbow Fish Scratch Art is a fun way to practice writing and encourage children to trace over their names several times with an awesome reward at the end!
I first saw this DIY Scratch paint idea from Happy Hooligans, and it popped into my head as I was trying to come up with a fun name activity-craft hybrid.
I’m actually not a crafty person by nature, but Ella has brought it out in me. The best way to get her excited or engaged with a new topic (or practicing a skill, like name writing) is to involve a craft or food in some way.
This rainbow fish scratch art craft is a great way for kids to practice name writing, but it can also be used for patterning, or just as a cool art technique to add “scales” to your rainbow fish. (You could even symbolically shade in the scales as the rainbow fish shares his scales – maybe posting the fishes on the fridge or in the classroom and scratching off scales when the kids make kind actions.
(PS – if you haven’t read the book before, it is a really sweet tale about a fish learning the importance of sharing and how kindness is more important than beauty.)
You need to scratch over the name several times in order to get it to show clearly (removing the paint from the area effectively) so you can also do this activity with children just learning how to write their name by faintly scratching their name into their fish and then having them trace their name several times.
How to Make DIY Scratch Art Fish
First, gather your supplies:
- Cardstock (heavy paper)
- Bright coloured crayons
- Dark poster or tempera paint (black is best for this activity, but we went with blue)
- Paint brushes
- Scratch tool (popsicle stick, orange cuticle stick, skewer, toothpick)
Trace a fish onto your paper with the pencil.
Using brightly coloured crayons that will contrast with the paint, press hard and fill the fish with lots of colour.
You want to leave as few white spaces as possible because the crayon “base” is what allows the paint layer to scratch off.
Cut your fish shape out with scissors.
And cover your whole fish with paint and let dry. (Ours was done in about 2 hours in the sun.)
You’ll notice that you can still see the crayon colours under our blue paint layer, which we were okay with, but you could possibly get more coverage with additional layers of paint. We were excited to get scratching so we only did a single layer.
Finally, using your “scratching tool” – we used a orange cuticle stick – scratch your name or pattern into your fish and reveal beautiful rainbow letters!
You have to scratch a few times to get the paint off, but you’ll notice that the waxiness of the crayons has made this incredibly easy and smooth. Tracing the same shape (or word) several times is a great way to build muscle memory, which many people (myself included) believe is key to learning how to write.
Have you tried any name writing activities with your children?
Check out these other Rainbow Fish Activities from my fellow Virtual Book Club for Kids participants:
Easy and Colorful Name Puzzle for Preschoolers | Toddler Approved