Art Fun: Painting Activities for Kids

Tips and Ideas for Painting with Kids

Do you include painting activities for kids at your house? Sometimes parents think it’s too messy and expensive or worry they aren’t talented enough. Below are some tips for painting with young children and some great suggestions for art play. The keyword is play so the intention is to have fun!

Materials needed for painting fun include colors, tools to paint with, and a surface of some sort.

  • Ideas for paint materials: (in addition to regular paints)

liquid paints, paint dabbers, paint crayons and sticks, food coloring, colored shaving foam, jello, puddings, water, mud, powdered chalk and water, candies like smarties,/skittles/m & m’s soaked in water, koolaid powder

  • painting activities with kidsVarious paint surfaces: (besides paper and parts of the body)

driveways, sidewalks, plain side of cereal boxes, old sheets, leftover wood scraps, aluminum foil, rocks, ice cubes,  newspaper, fences–painted with plain water, coffee filters

  • Different tools for painting: (as well as brushes of all sorts)

q-tips, hands, feet, spray bottles, sponges, marbles, string, bubble wrap, straws–for blowing paint around, plastic spoons and forks, potatoes and other fruits and veggies, stampers, old toothbrushes, paint rollers, pastry brushes, leaves, branches, toy dinosaurs and cars

  • Alternatives to set-up: (other than easels)

floors, counter tops, tables, big trays, empty bathtubs, big boxes,

  • Tips for preparation and clean-up: (sanity savers)

painting activities with kidswear play clothes or just essentials, cover the floor or other surface with newspaper, spread a tarp on the deck or patio, undress kids and set up paints and paper in the bathtub all ready to be rinsed when done, keep a hose handy outside, have camera ready for unbelievable moments

  •  Some reasons why painting is important:

sensory stimulation, self-expression, problem-solving, planning, organizing, imagination, creativity, visualizing, concentration, muscle coordination, language, recognizing patterns

painting activities with kidsNot all kids will be interested in painting at an easel with a brush, but there are many ways to paint. Given the opportunity, kids will find something that appeals to them and create their own painting activities. Yes, you can participate too. The objective is fun and learning by doing so kids and grownups can enjoy the experience without the stress of having to produce a masterpiece.
Won’t it be a ‘work of h-art’ whatever kids do?

Ice is Nice for Painting and Science Fun

This painting on a block of ice looked like a fun sensory and art activity but needed some modification; salt and food colors rescued the plan. Have you tried ice painting with your kids? How did yours work?sensory play ice painting

Recently, I’d seen and immediately saved a post about using water colors to paint on ice. The first step was to freeze some ice in a plastic container. A sandwich keeper is a good size and usually fairly flat on the bottom. Using water colors, kids get to paint right on the ice. In  preparation, I froze a container of water overnight and set it out the next morning along with a tray of water colors.sensory play ice painting

The water paints made puddles of color that soon flowed into each other and became all mixed up. The purple seemed to be the darkest color so the paints on the ice turned a sort of grey-purple.sensory play ice painting

We then tried some thicker premixed paints but they didn’t really spread at all. Little Sister wanted to make a hand print on the ice block so painted her fingers and hand. When she put her hand on the ice she discovered it was very cold and exclaimed, “My fingers are freezing.” She wasn’t interested in painting anymore.sensory play ice painting

We dried off the puddle of muddy-colored water on the block, changed it to a paper plate, and sprinkled finger pinches of salt on the top of the ice. Instead of paint, she squeezed a drop of food coloring onto the ice block. The salt was melting the ice and drew the color right into the block.sensory play ice painting

She tried the other bottles of colors too. The drops spread out slightly so the colors stayed separate and bright. There was some blending around the edges and the effect was somewhat like stained glass. She only used a few drops but was engaged in watching the colors create a circle and slowly seep into the ice. Even Big Sister was interested.sensory play ice painting

The benefit of an activity does not depend on the finished product but more on the process. The process of painting on a block of ice didn’t seem to capture the interest or imagination very much. Using the salt and food colors was quite ‘cool’, plus there was a little science with salt melting the ice. The colors showed where it was melting. Have you tried either of these ice painting activities?

How Many Colors In An Apple Paint Project

Paint dabbers are a marvelous invention and Little Sister had lots of fun painting an apple. When I told her she got to paint an apple, though, she started painting on a real one! Kids take things literally so it was a good reminder to be specific. She was going to do a paint project.

apple-dabWe used some of the apples from the neighbor’s tree and looked at all their colors. Some were all red, some were all green, but most of them were red and green together. I cut an apple shape from a brown paper bag and let her dab on colors.

She started with red, then added green. She quite enjoyed dotting the paper with color so I wasn’t surprised when she used yellow and orange too. Some parts of an apple were maybe yellow and orange. Then she asked me to unscrew the top on the purple paint. I asked her if an apple was purple? She showed me one that was a very deep red color and dabbed some purple on her project. I wondered if she wanted blue, after all she had all the other colors. She laughed like I had made a joke and told me, “No, apples not blue.”

While I thought this would be a fun play-of-the-day for fine muscle coordination and practicing colors, it was much more. After painting with one color, Little Sister looked at the other containers and took her time about choosing what color would be next. She looked over at the real apples on the counter a few times. She used some self-talk, remarking “I paint,” a few times and asked for help when she needed it. So often, when children play, we do not see all the strategies and thinking that is happening. Simple activities can have a surprising amount of complexity. What colors are the apples at your house?

Kindergarten Readiness – Play & Learn with Paints & Crayons

Adults think of paints and crayons as tools for creating art. For kids, paints and crayons are more than that. They are tools for discovering and learning through play. What are some of these learning and kindergarten readiness activities? The most obvious skills developed are fine muscle control and eye-hand coordination. This helps little ones … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Play & Learn with Paints & Crayons