I found this simple, yet brilliant idea over at the terrific Play At Home Mom blog. The moment I saw it, I knew it would become a staple of our outdoor curriculum.
Painting with power drills! And the best part is that I had both of mine -- the plug-in and the 12-volt cordless -- already at the school to aid us in the ongoing process of moving into our new space.
I started by just installing a brush in the bigger drill like one would a normal drill bit, but it kept coming loose and flying off, so I wound up securing it with duct tape which worked perfectly. (Okay, so I actually used packing tape since there was a lot of that around and I've still not uncovered our stash of the silvery stuff in the aftermath of our move. But I would have used duct tape, if I'd had it!)
The smaller drill has a "quick release" system for holding the drill bits, so I just taped the brush to a long wood drilling bit which worked just fine.
Of course, with only two power drills and 20+ kids, we needed something to occupy their interests while awaiting their turn, so I slipped a couple of small brushes into our egg beater style hand drills. These guys had to stand on milk crates in order to get the right angle, talk about a full-body physics-packed endeavor for 2-year-olds!
The raw power of the larger drill was appealing, of course, and attracted a pretty good following, although those who actually wanted to "paint something" found it frustrating to control, opting instead for the 12-volt.
The eye protection came out fairly quickly, not just because it's a good habit when working with power tools, but also because there was a bit of paint spray.
My only regret is that we didn't first spend a day using the hand drills, learning about the dynamics and forces at work on a smaller, slower scale, before stepping up to the power tools on the second day. I think we'd have had a better understanding of what was going on.
But no worries, we'll be doing this again, probably even next week.
We didn't save a lot of these, since it truly was all about the process, but this was a fairly typical result using the 12-volt . . .
And the larger drill gave us things that looked like this.
Rex told me it was a rainbow tornado.