This is the first page of a two page article – the next page of this article includes other tips, cleanliness & safety tips.
Painting opens up a world of colour and communication for children, whilst providing them with a release of emotion. However, it is important to allow children the freedom to express their own creativity, without having any expectations.
There are many different ways of painting, presenting a very different experience for children of many ages.
Types of Paint to Use
It is always advisable and commonsense to use a non-toxic paint, for both safety concerns and so that it can be easily washed off clothes and hands. Here are two suggested types of paint that can be used:-
Powder paint– There are many different ways to mix powder paint and the simplest is to use water. However, if you are wanting a thicker paint, then it is preferred to mix it with a small amount of paste/glue. If you want to go that route, then check out our Paste recipe to make the paste that can be used to mix the paint.
Liquid paint – Liquid paint does not need to have anything added to it because it comes ready-made. If you want a rougher gritty texture for the paint, then a handy hint is to add a very small quantity of sand to the paint.
Brushes to Use
Painting with thick brushes, such as shaving brushes is a good idea, because they are simple to hold and use by young children. It is important to encourage children to use a different brush for each colour, so that they can see the vibrant colours, although very young children may not understand this concept and will mix the paint together.
If you match the brush with the colour of paint, this encourages children to learn their colours and to return their brush to the correct paint holder. Using a brush with thick bristles and a narrower handle can assist children, as they have more brush control. You can also use long brushes or thin brushes and over time you can try all sorts of alternatives, including the following…
- Household brushes
- Dish brushes
The variety is endless and the only limits are your imagination. Have fun exploring different ways!
Alternatives to Using a Paint Brush
String painting – This is another great way for children to pattern paint.
You just wrap some string around a small wooden block – for example, this could be a building block that your children play with. A square or rectangle shape is better, but make sure that it is big enough for the child to hold easily.
To aid in your child’s learning, it is best to have a variety of different sizes handy. Prepare some paint and pour it into some old polystyrene trays or any tray that you can afford to use for lots of painting activities. Dip the block into the paint and press on the paper and you’re done!
Marble painting – Marble painting is a great way for children to have fun and also learn hand eye coordination whilst creating different patterns.
Prepare some paint and put it in a container that has deep sides, such as an old baking tray. Put some paper in the bottom of the tray with a small amount of paint (you can use two or three different colours at a time). Drop a marble in the tray and let the children move the marble backwards and forwards, sideways etc. to create their own work of art.
Finger painting – This is a great way for children to feel and touch paint and use their sensory skills. Put some paint on an old table and let the children put their hands in it and make their own designs. If you do not have an old table that you can use, then you can always put some plastic on the table and this will suffice.
Please bear in mind that most paints are easily washed off surfaces and hands with hot soapy water but please check the instructions to be certain!). Once the children have finished their painting, put a piece of paper on top and peel it off. Then put it somewhere to dry and then they can have a print of their art work to show to family and friends.
The next page of this article includes other tips and cleanliness and safety tips.