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Almost Batik


Sometimes making art means using unusual materials. Here's something very unusual that turns out very nicely.


  • crayons
  • white paper
  • water
  • newspaper
  • watercolor paints
  • paintbrush


Nancy F. Castaldo is the author of many books packed with inspiring ideas for childhood discovery and learning. In addition to the three titles above, Nancy has written activity guides for teaching children ages 6 to 9 about the ocean, rainforests, deserts, and rivers. All of these titles are published by Chicago Review Press.

Click here to learn about these books and others by Nancy Castaldo.

Draw a picture with crayons on white paper.

Place your picture in water. After a few minutes, gently remove the paper and crumble it into a ball.

Then open up the paper and place it flat on the newspaper. Paint all over the entire sheet with the watercolor paint. Dip the picture back into the water for a quick minute.

Remove the picture and place it flat to dry on the newspaper.


Involve students in some of these extension activities:

After students complete the Almost Batik activity, ask students: What part of the directions you just followed seemed most unusual?

Create an ocean picture by drawing fish and other marine critters with crayons. Paint over the entire picture with watered-down blue watercolor paint. See how the waxy crayons keep the blue paint off.


Batik is an art originally use by the people of Java to decorate cloth. The artist uses hot wax to make a design, like the crayon does in the activity above. The cloth is then dyed. The dye clings to the unwaxed areas of the cloth, leaving the waxed areas white. Later, the wax is scraped or boiled off the fabric and the design appears.


This activity is excerpted from Nancy Castaldo's Rainy Day Play, which is published by Chicago Review Press. This lesson idea is one of more than 65 imaginative activities from Rainy Day Play that are sure to inspire children as they discover and learn.

About the Author

A native of New York's Hudson Valley, Nancy Castaldo earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Marymount College and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York. As an environmental educator, author, and Girl Scout volunteer and board member, Castaldo has led numerous children's workshops. Her school programs include workshops on ocean creatures and other nature topics, creative writing, and pizza making/Italy. She has conducted programs at the Boston Children's Museum, Atlanta Zoo, and Tennessee Aquarium. Castaldo's books include River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers; Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; Deserts: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; and Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9. She is also author of a historical-fiction picture book, Pizza for the Queen. To learn more about Nancy and her books, check out her Web site, www.nancycastaldo.com.

Article by Nancy Castaldo
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