Hi and welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – preschool paint projects.
People are often telling me they have no idea where to start when it comes to painting with preschoolers. The idea of the mess scares them and they feel without the talent of Picasso, they have nothing to offer.
There’s an easy way to solve both of those dilemmas.
As for the mess, the secret is organisation and keeping the kids in one place. If you have your supplies ready, then the kids can’t be pouring paint on the floor while you’re distracted collecting other necessities.
Choose a place where minimal damage can be done. Obviously painting on a lounge or bed would be asking for problems. I usually have the kids on our back deck in the warmer months and at the kitchen counter during the cooler months. The two-year-old is confined to a high chair so I have time to clean her tiny hands before she runs off.
GETTING ORGANISED – THINGS TO HAVE READY FOR PRESCHOOL PAINT PROJECTS
MINIMISE THE MESS
- I don’t usually bother as the counter and outside table are easy to wipe down but if you’re concerned, use a cheap plastic tablecloth.
- A paint shirt for the little ones is an absolute must. The Goddesses have been taught there is no painting without the shirt and having their sleeves pulled up and their hair tied back.
- A large supply of paper. You don’t want to have to turn your back on the kids while you search for more.
PREPARE THE PAINTS
- The paints. You only need primary colours as mixing them to make new colours is educational and fun, but be sure you get water-based paints. I like acrylic as it goes on thicker than watercolours and tempera paints so the colours are brighter, but it is still relatively easy to clean up.
- A paint pallet. I use old ice cream lids and make small puddles of different coloured paints.
- Brushes – not an absolute necessity as the littlies will no doubt resort to their fingers no matter what you offer, but still good for their fine motor skills. I like to use short, stubby brushes with their little hands rather than the long-handled brushes but I usually offer both kinds.
- The fun stuff – an array of shapes (old cookie cutters are good), stamps (make your own out of potatoes), flowers and leaves (it’s fun collecting these together before you start the projects), cut fruit and veggies (capsicums and mushrooms are good) and interesting tools to add effects (dish brushes and potato mashers are two of my favourites).
- Washers or wipes. I do this with the Goddesses all the time so I’d go broke buying wipes but I do have a supply of washers set aside particularly for painting. Before we start I moisten 2 – 3 of them in readiness for wiping hands and cleaning spills.
- For the specific projects below, you will also need masking tape, glue and table salt.
- Glitter is optional – it is really messy. If you decide to let them use glitter I advise you put a small amount in a little dish so you can control how much they pour and therefore how much ends up on your floor.
Before I set out the paints and let the Goddesses go for it I usually try and make them watch me do a few things so they get the idea of all the possibilities using the various tools provided.
After that, it’s up to them. I watch and encourage and keep my hands off their work unless they ask for help.
LOOK AT ALL THE COOL THINGS 3-YEAR-OLD GODDESS MADE
MORE PRESCHOOL PAINT PROJECTS
For some more controlled fun, you can try these projects.
MASKING TAPE PICTURES
Use the masking tape to make the shape you want on the paper (it’s best to use thicker paper for this project. Small canvasses work wonderfully).
Have the kids paint all over the paper, even over the tape.
When it is completely dry you can carefully lift the tape, revealing the white pattern where there is no paint.
I did these marking out the Goddesses’ names with tape to decorate their ‘Grandy’s house’ bedroom.
Draw a simple design on the paper with the glue. Cover generously in salt, then shake off excess salt. Paint over the design using a paintbrush – gently – or an eyedropper to create a 3D design.
This one is so much fun. Add food colouring to bubble mix – there’s a great recipe at Questicon – and blow the coloured bubbles onto a clean piece of paper.
HAND AND FOOTPRINT TREE
Draw a tree trunk on a large canvas.
Each year add the painted foot and handprints of each child and write their name and the date next to them. Glue on sparkly sequins and embellishments.
To use up leftover paint, make butterfly pictures, they are quick and fun. Just blob different colours of paint on one side of the paper, fold it in half and gently rub then open to reveal the beautiful butterfly.
To dry the masterpieces, hang them on the clothesline.
Now all that’s left is to decide what to do with all the art.
Some of the paintings will work beautifully as wrapping paper but my current favourite thing to do with the best of the best is to laminate them and use them and placemats The Goddesses love using their own placemats at mealtime and they are even fun to bring out for everyone’s use at family get-togethers – it makes the grandkids feel really proud when you do this.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria