activity circling around circle printing

Circling Around

Your child’s perspective can transform simple circles into unlimited possibilities. Designing unique, printed patterns with just one shape focuses a preschooler’s hand-eye coordination skills and creativity too.


This can be messy so prepare yourself, your child, and your work space. Check out our FAQ for preschool art prep tips. If you have chosen to use recycled objects, please be sure that they are clean, dry and have not been used to hold meat.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Light color paper - We prefer to use white construction paper or printer paper like the kind found here on Amazon. Both work equally well.
  2. Liquid tempera paint, from jars like these or tubes found here. Use several primary colors. Red, yellow, and blue are good choices, because they are easy to see and are great for mixing new colors.
  3. Circular items of all sizes -We like to find a diversity of circles in our kitchen and recycling bin. Gather your measuring cups and spoons like these, clean aluminum cans, toilet paper tubes, bottle caps, small paper cups .... 
  4. Shallow containers for each paint color, big enough to fit your largest size item. We like to use easy to clean and re-use, 9 inch disposable, aluminum pie pans like these.
  1. Adults, put a small amount of each color of paint into each shallow container, spreading it evenly.
  2. Skilly Spark: Talk about your circular shapes and differences between your items. Introduce the word pattern, which is a repeated shape that makes a design. Now, provide your child with an example of pattern, such as two big circles, then two small circles, and repeating that across the paper.
  3. Let your child choose a piece of paper and a circle shaped item. Your child then dips the item lightly in paint and makes a circular print on the paper with it. They may choose to make circle prints in vertical lines, circular lines, zigzags, and any other kind of lines. Random printing is just fine, too.
  4. Skilly-spark: Talk about mixing colors with your child. For example, discuss how dipping the item in two or more primary colors together, such as red and yellow, make the color orange.  
  5. Ask them to choose their second color and use a different circle to make their next design with. Watch as new sizes, shapes and colors circle prints start to appear.
  6. Encourage your child to use as many different sized circular items and colors to make as many prints and patterns as they want.
  7. Let your child continue until with every size and type circular item until all  have been used, or until their interest has waned.


Keep the fun going
  • Try different kinds of paper, such as newspaper, brown paper bags, or even long-forgotten gift wrapping paper for variety.     
  • Older children, ages 4 years and up, can imagine and recreate a pattern they see in their world, such as raindrops in a puddle, the spots on a dog, a cat or ladybug.
  • Go hunting for a new shape to make printed designs. How about rectangles or triangles today?