Painting with regular brushes can get a bit old. Why not try painting with other tools? One of my favorites has always been plastic hair combs. You can get them at the dollar store in packages of 10-12, and the varying widths of the teeth create different striped and dotted patterns.
This is a fun way to do large projects like banners and wrapping paper. For ease of use try finger painting or freezer paper; their glossy surfaces keep the paint workable for a longer period of time and allow more white to show through. Pour out a thin layer of paint (finger paint, tempera, or acrylic) onto your paper. Then run the comb through it, moving it to make squiggles or jagged lines. With young children, the teacher can use a large brush to spread out the paint before they begin.
More experienced artists might enjoy using specialty paints or specific color schemes. You can also get beautiful results by squirting out random "scribbles" of paint all over the paper, overlapping colors as you go. Add black or white paint in small amounts to change the color values. You can also dip the comb into a pool of paint on scrap paper and use it to make delicate designs on another sheet. Dab gently to make neat rows of dots like those shown above.
While you're in the hair care aisle, look for these other items that present possibilities for painting:
• Hair brushes
• Rollers (the kind with sponges on them)
• Bobby pins and hair picks
• Plastic headbands (make a horseshoe pattern)
I'm sure you'll see other items that will inspire creative ideas you can use with your students. Have fun!