Feb 18, 2014

Ideas and Tips for Painting Activities with Young Children

Young children love paint and there are so many different ways they can explore the process of painting. The traditional way, of course, is to use a paintbrush, but it does not have to stop or begin there. Aside from using their own fingers and hands, this article is filled with various other ways for young children to experience painting and provides inexpensive alternatives to finding the material needed.

Painting Preparation

Before the painting begins, an area needs to be chosen where some mess can occur. If an easel is not being used, then a table should be covered with a tablecloth or newspapers. For toddlers, try using a highchair selected for art activities. Washable liquid tempera paint, found in most craft stores or big outlets, such as Staples, works best for painting with young children. Trays for holding the paint should be chosen and a cheap solution for this is to use clean Styrofoam grocery trays.

Prepare more than one piece of paper per child for quick replacing

Prepare more than one piece of paper per child for quick replacing and set up the clean up area before painting occurs. Children can wear smocks or a bigger sized old shirt worn backwards to keep paint off of their clothes. When all the set up is done, then painting catastrophes with the young children involved are less likely to occur.

Painting with Sponge Stamps

Sponges dipped into paint leave a fun bubbly texture on paper. Young children can use sponges in the store bought sizes, usually rectangle, or the sponges can be cut up into other shapes. It is a good idea to demonstrate to preschool and toddler ages how to stamp the paper with the sponge to produce the shape. One idea is to tell the children to kiss the paper or to jump like a frog. Many children will still want to create their own art pieces and experience the painting with their own process, which is just fine. This style of painting does not require a lot of paint in the tray. The sponge will absorb the paint quickly, but can be used many times over producing paint work on the paper.

Stamp Painting

Cookie Cutters, Kitchen Utensils, Wooden Blocks, Spools....

Other suggestions for stamp painting are cookie cutters, old kitchen utensils, such as potato masher or spatula, wooden blocks, and old thread spools. Next time you are walking through a dollar store, look at the items and imagine if it will make a fun shape or design with paint and whether it can be easily gripped by preschool or toddler hands. The key is to think outside the box and try out other items to create a fun process for young children experiencing paint.

Painting with Miniature Rollers

Miniature rollers can be found in paint stores or dollar shops and is a great way for young children to paint. This rolling style works well with stencils taped onto the paper. After the entire page has been covered in paint, and the paper is dry, the stencil can be lifted off to reveal the shape or design. Stencils can be made with thick paper or thin cardboard paper, such as a cereal box. Another suggestion for a stencil is to use a paper doily taped on paper which creates a snowflake style design.

Painting with Marbles

This painting activity requires a large tray that will hold paint while the marble rolls back and forth. The paper is taped to the bottom of the tray and a few tablespoons of paint placed in the middle. Then a large marble or even a golf ball, can be moved around the paper by the young children who are grasping both sides of the tray. Another version of this is to use a shoe box and have the young children shake the box back and forth which is a wonderful activity for outside.

Painting with Cars or Trucks

Boys will love this painting adventure. Find old toy cars and trucks with wheels that have tread marks on them. Place a large piece of paper on a flat surface with some paint deposits. Then the young children can drive their vehicles all throughout the paint leaving tire marks. This painting activity is very suitable for toddlers.


Painting with Balloons

Balloons that are not blown all the way have a nice handle on the end, are bright and appealing. Young children find delight in simply being allowed to place balloons in paint. This painting activity works well on a flat surface with the paint sitting in aluminum foil pie tins.

Potato and Apple Paint Art

Potatoes and apples can be used for painting as well. If the apple is cut sideways, it will display a star in the middle. Potatoes cut in half can then have a design carved into it with a paring knife. If choosing food to use for painting, it is important to explain to the young children that it is an exception to the rule that food is for eating.

The Focus Should be on the Fun Process and not the Product

There are so many ways for young children to create art work using paint and this article is a start. Many preschool and craft websites offer ideas. Regardless of what is chosen, the focus should be on the fun process and not the product. With that emphasize, the creativity in children can freely flow.

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