There is nothing sweeter (or more frustrating) than trying to do a painting project with your toddler! Here are a few tips I use when trying to do a project that will be wall-hanging-worthy at the end and not just a glob of brown paint on ripped paper. :)
1. Be Patient!
This is supposed to be fun right? You get to spend special time with your toddler, but also can teach them valuable skills like listening and following directions. And that art is fun and that they can express themselves!
2. Tape Down Paper
Get out the masking tape and tape down the paper that you’re going to use. It’s never going to stay in place otherwise, and it’ll be on the floor in two seconds. Use a heavy-duty watercolor paper made for paint so it can absorb all of the excess water that is bound to be poured all over it.
3. Draw Outline
Pick out an object from around the house and draw it on the paper as an outline with a Sharpie marker (important to use permanent marker since the paint will make any other marker bleed all over). It’s always more fun starting with something to color in, rather than looking at a blank piece of white paper and trying to make a “masterpiece.” We picked out a dinosaur from the toy box and put him on the table to act as our still life. Raarrrgh!
4. Pick One Color
Choose one color to start with. I use Sax Non-Toxic Giant Tempera Paint Cakes and I swear they are the best paints you’ll ever buy. Seriously. They come in this great tray that collects the water, and it’s perfect for sloppy toddlers. For this project, I put one paint cake in a bowl so it was the only color he had to choose from (cause they tend to want to blend all the colors together and make brown/black every time). Help them get the paint cake wet with water and then paint on the object a while.
5. Add Another Color
Pick another color to use, preferably a color in the same color family as the first color. That way when they blend together you won’t get brown. Think green + blue + yellow, or red + orange + yellow. Watch out for mixing complementary colors, they almost always will make mud! We did 3 colors total for our dinosaur painting.
6. Put on the Wall
There is no prouder moment for your child than seeing their artwork on the wall. I guess that’s why we have a giant wall dedicated to our children’s art in our house - we’ve got a lot of things to be proud of! So once the paint has dried, you can re-outline the image with your Sharpie again to finish it off a bit and then cut it out to put on the wall.
7. Have Fun!
It’s one of my favorite things, and my kids love having an activity to do with me one-on-one. Each gets a turn to create a painting, or we attempt a family painting….which sometimes doesn’t really work out. :) Keep those creative juices flowing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR