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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WFMW: Mess-Free Painting For Your Preschooler

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Wendy, at almost 4 years old (!!!), loves anything artistic. Coloring, drawing, Play-Doh, painting...she does it all! In the past I have unintentionally stifled her creativity because I was afraid of the mess. Well, no more! (See the masterpiece she made the other day?)

I've come upon a fairly mess-free way for Wendy to paint to her heart's content. All it took was a few inexpensive supplies. Here are the important points:

Paint: I am a huge fan of Crayola's washable products. I found this six-pack of washable paint at the grocery store, and it works really well. It's thick enough to stick to brushes so that kids can achieve really vibrant and colorful effects. It washes right out of the brushes, off the wall, off the floor, out of the clothes, off the get the idea.

Brushes: I found a package of paint brushes at the grocery store that has worked out great. It was around $5, and has 8 brushes of different sizes and shapes. (It's similar to this set, but not exactly the same.) Wendy loves experimenting with them and seeing the different looks each brush can give.

Palette: Instead of using some sort of paint cup or palette, I use an egg carton. Since our paint set has 6 colors, I cut the egg carton into 6-cup segments. With a small blob of paint in each cup, Wendy is all set! When she's finished, I either throw away the egg carton or, if we're going to paint more later in the day, I'll stick the egg carton in a quart-sized zipper bag to use later.

Water Cup: A sturdy glass votive holder works great! It's low and heavy, so it's less likely to tip over, and it cleans up easily!

Paper: We've used poster board, construction paper, drawing paper, and card stock. It all works equally well for the paints we're using. If using watercolors, I'm sure watercolor paper would be the best bet. Just tape it up on the wall, making sure it's secure. No easel needed!

Location: We have a little space of wall in our kitchen, behind our back door, where I set up a painting station for Wendy. It is out of the general traffic area, in plain sight, and (most importantly) is on an easy-to-clean vinyl floor. I really like having it there, because she can paint while her brother is napping and I can get some much-needed kitchen work done. I tape up the paper, place her supplies on a low stool, and she's all set!

When the artist has decided that her composition is finished, I leave it taped to the wall to dry. Wendy helps me clean up her water cup and brushes, and we wipe off any drips on the floor or wall.

And that's it! Painless painting fun for a preschooler!

(I'm really proud of the egg-carton idea. Can I get some kudos for that, please?)

Mess-free painting works for me! For more great ideas, visit Works-For-Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family!


Melinda said...

The egg carton idea is brilliant! :)

Carrie said...

Ice cube trays are also great! :-)

Muthering Heights said...

What a great idea! I'll have to try this. :)

Unknown said...

oh man, I only wish.... when my son was little what a mess!


Beck said...

That's a very good idea!
I always had my kids do super messy art outside when I cook - or in the bathtub.