Ages 1+

Make a beautiful card for Mum or Someone Else You Love!

Making homemade cards for mum and other family members

Painting opens up a world of colours and supports a release of emotions, whilst providing children with easy to hold tools supports communication and creativity.

Children don’t always need to produce something from a painting experience, but a card is often a treasure to keep!


Things you will need

  • Cardboard – paper will work, but cardboard when wet, rips less easily
  • A short light-coloured candle or brightly coloured waxed crayons
  • Thin water colour paint such as Edicol or watered-down regular paint (food colouring will work too)
  • If you are using coloured crayons, consider black paint. If you are using a candle, the coloured paints will bring the artwork to life
  • Paint pots – an old cup or deep saucer or even recycled packaging will work e.g. an empty yoghurt container
  • Paint brushes (or you could offer a sponge or an old shaving brush)
  • Apron or old clothes that can get paint on them.


How to Do It

  1. Prepare your materials, support your child to pop on an apron or put on old clothes and lay down any protective layers, or use a table or surface that can be wiped clean from spills and splashes
  2. Talk about making a card and who the card could be for. Will it be for Mother’s Day, or will it be an offering for someone else special to your child?
  3. Lay the cardboard flat and whether using the candle or bright crayons, encourage your child to make their mark or to draw a picture
  4. Choose and prepare a choice of coloured paint with your child. Encourage your child to dip a brush and to paint over the wax design using one or more colours
  5. The wax design resists the paint and will show through, clearly leaving their message or drawing behind, just like magic!
  6. Leave it to dry by standing it up or hang it, so that it doesn’t stick to the newspaper or the table. Encourage your child to help you clean up
  7. Once the cardboard is dry, work together to fold the cardboard into a card shape. Will the long side be on the edge or at the bottom?
  8. Encourage or help your child write a message for Mum or a special person inside the card and then hand deliver it when ready!



  • Don’t forget to date your card so that you know how old your child was when this memento was made
  • Encourage your child to help you clean up as this process offers significant learning opportunities and a sense of growing responsibility. Remember to thank your child for their help as you role model alongside them
  • You could try black crayons with coloured paint or white candles with black paint as a follow up painting experience as the stark contrasts are very effective too!


What Learning is Occurring?

  • Fine motor skills – developing your child finger and hand muscles, which are important for pencil grip and writing later in life
  • Hand eye coordination – as your child directs their crayon and paintbrush and both balance and bilateral coordination skills as they hold the cardboard steady and paint or draw simultaneously
  • Early literacy as your child makes marks. They might write their name or known symbols and will begin to learn that these marks can convey meaning
  • Language and social skills – A sense of pride and accomplishment and learning to give without receiving. Talk with your child about who the artwork and card will be for. Why do we offer gifts? What does it feel like to give and receive something?
  • STEAM – artistic expression alongside scientific concepts – This is an opportunity for your child to see how multiple colours mix and can become new colours
  • Inquiry and critical thinking as your child wonders how and why the waxed area resists the paint. Offering this experience again will build on their developing understanding and learning as they predict and identify change and reactions and become able to talk about it with others
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From Alix Broadhead, NSW Curriculum Mentor

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