9 Tips to Make Painting with Preschoolers Fun and Easy
Painting with preschoolers can be fun but it can also get a bit messy. These simple tips will help you spend more time on the painting experience, and less time and stress on setup and cleanup.
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Painting activities provide kids with amazing opportunities for creative play.
But since painting with preschoolers almost always gets messy, making the decision to provide a painting activity can be both exciting and stressful!
That's where these tips come in.
The tips, including input from mom bloggers who paint with kids, are intended to help you plan, deliver, and clean up a fun painting activity like a pro!
Painting with preschoolers
You look forward to a painting activity because:
Painting strengthens creative and fine motor skills.
It's a fun way to spend the afternoon.
Related: Painting and Drawing Activity
Related: Benefits of Painting with Kids from The Artful Parent
You avoid a painting activity because:
Painting takes time to set up.
There's too much mess to clean up.
Many of our suggestions are based on using recycled household items, or basic supplies purchased at a dollar store.
No fancy expensive equipment or materials needed.
We also provide a range of options you can purchase online, such as paint, cover-ups, and an easel (see tip #9), depending on your goals and needs.
9 Tips for painting with kids
1. Designate a tote for paint supplies.
- Provide a small number of paint colors at a time, even as few as 2 or 3 colors.
- Purchase large bottles of paint to lower costs, and transfer paint to recycled containers such as yogurt pots.
- Include hand wipes. See tip #2.
- Include drop cloths, and cover-ups. See tip #5.
Related: Create a Go-To Craft Box
2. Include wipes in the paint supplies.
- This tip from The Resourceful Mama ensures messes are cleaned up throughout the painting activity.
- Options for wipes include: wet wipes; paper towels; washable cloths.
3. Provide one paint brush for each paint color.
- This tip is shared from Books and Giggles to help keep paint colors separated during the activity. Kids can then choose whether or not to mix colors in their paintings. This is especially helpful in groups with a wide range of ages and skill levels.
4. Recycle cardboard to use as a canvas.
- A cereal box is a nice size for a canvas, but any cardboard will do. Other packaging materials such as bubble wrap can also be used for painting activities.
- Store cardboard pieces in the tote if possible, otherwise in a shoe box or shirt box for easy access.
5. Store drop cloths and cover-ups in the tote.
- The Moments at Home recommends a wipe-clean drop cloth such as a dollar store plastic tablecloth.
- Other options for drop cloths include: large pieces of cardboard; used towels; used shower curtain.
- Options for cover-ups include: oversize t-shirts; upcycled kitchen aprons; store-bought cover-ups with long sleeves.
6. Identify a cleanup area ahead of time.
- Fill a sink or basin with warm water.
- Place a towel or dish rack next to the basin where items can be placed for drying.
7. Create drying and display solutions for finished paintings.
- Options for a drying area include: a drop cloth spread out in a separate area on the table or floor: a simple 'clothesline' or a drying rack where paintings can be secured with clothes pins.
- When dry, paintings can be hung in a display area in the classroom, or on a bulletin board or fridge door at home.
- If there is a large number of paintings, choose those to be 'saved' and those to be used for other projects such as greeting cards or decorations.
Related: Recycled Art Gift Tags from Creative Family Fun
Related: Creative Ways to Recycle Artwork from School Time Snippets
8. Provide open-ended painting experiences.
- Promote process art experiences with limited instruction, to reduce frustration and welcome freedom of expression.
- Guide the activity in open-ended conversation. Ask your child to tell you about his painting, or name the shapes and colors he is using.
I like all the red color in your painting.
What are you making in this part of the picture?
Related: The Benefits of Process Art from Nurture Store
Related: What is Process Art for Kids and Why is it Important? from Fun-A-Day
9. Define the painting area with an easel.
- This is a simple way to promote painting experiences. An easel can be placed in a convenient location in the preschool classroom or at home to provide a free-play choice.
- Paints, brushes, and cover-ups can be stored on the easel tray.
- Spill-proof paint containers store paints between painting sessions
I hope these suggestions help you provide fun and easy painting activities!