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Music & patterns on paper

What you need

  • Large paper
  • Selection of paint
  • Two or three different sized brushes
  • A piece of music or a song that either you or your child enjoys (preferably that changes in tempo and/or pitch)


  • Drawing lines and circles improves gross motor skills
  • Developing listening skills, distinguishing between different sounds

The experience

Start by asking your child if there is a piece of music or a song that they would like to listen to, or choose one and then put it on. Listen and hum or sing along. Encourage your child to do the same. 

Ask them if they would like to do some painting with you, whilst you listen to the music/song. Encourage them to help you to get the canvas ready – either on the floor or on the table, by covering the chosen space with paper and securing with tape. Ask your child to pass you the paintbrushes – what do they notice about them? What’s the same and what’s different? Choose the paints together – talk about the colours. Make sure your chosen music is playing and encourage your child to paint along to the music, and have a go yourself. 

Talk about which brush you chose and which one they chose. Describe what you do when the tempo changes or when the pitch changes, e.g. ‘When the music gets faster, I paint faster’ or ‘When the music sounds high, I paint really small.’ Encourage your child to do the same – ask what they can hear and how it makes them want to paint. 

Remember to step back together and admire your artwork – ask them to tell you about what they’ve made. Keep it for another day and look again whilst listening to the music. Can you match the marks to what you were listening to?