Monday, 5 March 2012

Stress-less painting with kids

Ever had a painting experience like this?

Mr Sociable's first painting experience
This was my first real painting experience with Mr Sociable. Although this was very fun, we would hardly ever paint if I knew that painting would be like this every time. Way too much clean up! Thankfully, I’ve learnt lots about painting with little people in the past few years, so I thought I would share some tips with you.

General principles
1. Keep all your painting things together
I have a box in the garage that stores all our painting stuff – table cover, paints, brushes, water cups, paint shirts, stampers, etc. It’s much quicker to set-up and pack-up when I know where everything belongs.

2. Choose a messable space
In the past, we have painted at the dining table (which has a plastic cloth). But now that we have our new craft table (that my neighbour was throwing out – yay!), we tend to paint in the garage, or outside. Having a space that you are not precious about means that it’s not a big deal if the paint accidentally ends up on the table (or the floor…). 

The ark we painted last week on our new craft table
3. Have wipes/cloths ready
Painting with little people can be very messy! Be prepared! Have wipes ready to quickly wipe hands before they move away from the craft table and smear paint all over the house/you/the washing.
Mr Fun's first painting experience
4. Use washable paint
I have used some “washable” paint that was not very washable (like the time Mr Sociable ended up with blue feet…). I have found the crayola stuff is very washable. Let me know if you have found other brands that are good too!

Yes, his foot is blue. It stayed that way for a few days.
5. Use paint shirts
Even if you think your kids are going to be super-neat, stuff happens! Paint shirts reduce stress.

Tips for easy clean-up
1. Use cotton buds
When I was painting with Kindergarten, we would often use cotton buds, rather than paintbrushes. I would put one cotton bud in each colour – which meant that I didn’t need a cup of water for washing brushes between colours (saves spills in the classroom). It also saves on washing up all the brushes at the end!

2. Use egg cartons
Egg cartons are great for holding paint – one colour per space and a few spaces left over for mixing (if your kids are old enough to mix colours). At the end, you can just recycle them. Easy!

3. Put small paper on bigger paper
If you are planning to make a small painting, roll out a large sheet of paper to cover the table (I buy the cheap rolls from IKEA). Put your small paper on top. If you end up with a beautiful painting on the large paper, you can use that as wrapping paper. If not, you can re-use or recycle it.

Painting with sponge stampers

Sponge letter stamps
1. Containers
Get one tray (icecream container lid/takeaway container/paper plate) per colour of paint. Squirt one colour of paint onto each container.

2. Choose colours
I ask Mr Sociable to choose what colour each stamp will be (eg the bell - yellow, the holly - green, etc). This helps him not to mix colours (it bothers him when the pictures end up looking like a big mess). It means that the final pictures look nicer too (which is great if you are trying to make a gift/wrapping paper for someone else). 

Wrapping paper from last Christmas - green trees, blue angels, red holly, yellow bells
3. Recycle it
If you are keen to reuse the containers, you can wash them. If not, recycle them (after a quick rinse).

Painting with hard stampers
Hard palm stamps
1. Buy a sponge pad
Hard stampers with a handle are great because kids get less paint on their hands. But, they can leave a very smudgy impression on the paper when they have too much paint on them. You can buy a special sponge stamper pad from educational experience. They are a big sponge with paint already in it, enclosed in a plastic container. 

2. Or, make your own sponge pad
Buy cheap sponges from the supermarket. Wet them and wring out the water so they are just damp. Put them on a lid/plate and rub paint into them. Use them for stamping. Wash them out after use and dry them, ready for next time.

The commercial stamper pad and my home-made alternative
Hard stamps and stamper pads
Painting with kids who have a goldfish attention span
Have you ever spent 15 mins setting up a paint activity for your toddler, only to pack it away after precisely 2.5 minutes of painting? When Mr Sociable was younger, he often wanted to “paint”, but quickly lost interest in the activity. I got sick of all the time I spent setting up painting, for very little return. So, I found a few paint options that involved a lot less set-up and pack up. He was still happy because he had “painted” – although not the traditional paint/paintbrush set-up.

1. watercolours
I used to use these when I was a child, but hadn’t really thought of them as an option for a 3 year old until Mr Sociable played with them at his friend’s house. They are great because they involve almost no set-up and very little mess. You just need a cup with a little water for dipping the paint-brush. If I brush the water into the paint, even Mr Fun can manage to paint with these.

2. Crayola beginners
I have used these with both boys, although more when Mr Sociable was young. They give the feeling of “painting”, but with texta convenience. They are highly washable (I have washed this stuff out of clothes lots of times…) which is good because they are a bit messy. The ink is very runny – so my kids generally wear a paint-shirt when using these.

3. Paint pens
I bought these at a junk shop when we were on holidays one time (and it rained…. a lot!). They also involve little set-up and pack-up. The paint is actually inside the tube – so kids just need to squirt the paint up a little and spread it out (Mr Sociable needed a little help with this when he was younger). Good news is that they are refillable.  

It’s been great for me to write all this down and to remind myself of the fun times I have had painting with my kids. Mr Sociable and I used to paint all the time, but I’ve been a bit slack with painting since Mr Fun has been around. I’m looking forward to some fun painting times this week!

Do you paint with your kids? What things do you do to make it a stress-less experience?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...