Secret Message Painting: A Multi-Use Activity for Preschool

This is a really fun method to review any number of skills with your child! It is a really flexible activity that fits into your toddler or preschooler's schedule for literacy or math. You can review:
  • name recognition
  • letter recognition (uppercase or lowercase)
  • phonics
  • sight words
  • number recognition
  • or shapes
finished secret message painting showing the lowercase alphabet

Materials You Will Need:

To complete this activity with your preschooler you will need:
  • white paper
  • white crayon
  • watercolor paints (we used the giant toddler set, but really any watercolor will do)
  • paintbrush
  • cup of water for the paints
Toddler painting to reveal numbers in her secret message painting

Set Up the Secret Message Painting Activity:

To set up the activity for your child, you will need to choose a “secret message” to write on the paper. Then simply write it on the paper. For best results, press down firmly (I ended up breaking my crayon). You can write your child's name to help them work on name recognition. You can write the letters of the alphabet to work on letter recognition. You can help your child practice phonics by writing various words in a word family. You could write sight words that you are trying to help them learn. You could write numbers or shapes to incorporate a little math into the activity. It's really up to you as to what you want to use this activity to teach.
Painting with words from the an word family to review phonics and decoding

Doing the Activity with Your Toddler or Preschooler:

When you have chosen the skill that you would like to teach your child and the paper is set up, then you should place the paper, watercolors, paintbrush, and water in a space where your child is comfortable working. Ask them if they would like to find a secret message that you wrote for them. The idea of uncovering the hidden is so much fun for children because they are so naturally curious!

As they paint allow them to experiment with the paint on the paper and discover the hidden letters, words, etc. for themselves. Listen to them about what they found. Answer any questions that they have. Don't feel that you need to lead the lesson. Follow their lead.

We ended up repeating the activity a few times because it was so much fun! We did letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and finally the _an word family, because that is what we are currently learning in phonics. My three year old really enjoyed watching the hidden “messages” appear like magic after she painted over them.

Older children could definitely have fun with this activity as well. Children who are writing sentences could each write down a simple one sentence message and then swap with a sibling or a partner to paint and discover what the other person wrote.

secret message painting activity: letter recognition, number recognition, and reading
secret message painting preschool activity
secret messages: letter recognition, number recognition, sight words, phonics
secret message painting preschool activity

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out our secret message painting activity. How do you plan on using it with your children or in your classroom? Let us know down below in the comments! If you found this activity useful, please consider sharing it on social media so that others can find it was well! Happy learning.


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