The boys had to concentrate on unreeling the fishing rod to lower the bells. They also enjoyed comparing the various prints that different cones made.


  • Fishing rod
  • Bells
  • Pine cones
  • Paint – red, white and green
  • Paper or card
  • Tray


Step 1: Line the tray with the paper or card. Demonstrate how to wind the handle on the fishing rod to lower the bells into paint.

Step 2: Start painting with the bells and the pine cones.

Step 3: Swap over.

Step 4: Compare and discuss the size and type of different prints made.


At the end, Ioan asked to get his hands in and mix the paint. If this art had been for Christmas cards then we wouldn’t have done this last stage, but for a boy who has hated getting paint on his hands for years, this was brilliant. Finn, as usual, needed no encouragement to get messy, in fact he needed restraining to keep his feet out of it today. They are so different!

As an adult it can be hard to see their art work turn in to a brown mush, but messy art is not just fun, it is beneficial. If you need convincing, read this short post by Philly Art Center.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively.

Expressive arts and design

ELG 16 – Exploring and using media and materials:

Children safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

ELG 17 – Being imaginative:

Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology and art.