Stress-free painting

watercolor Nervous about using paints with your preschooler? Afraid they’ll make a mess? Here are some quick ways to make it easy, fun, and (maybe most importantly) painless to clean up.

Prepare the surface. If you’re painting on a table and afraid your child won’t stay in the lines, spread out newspaper and then tape it down. That way, even if it gets messy, the underlying covering stays put. And cleanup is just a crumple and toss away–no washing or wiping!

Recycle a shirt as a smock. With the surface taken care of, your child needs equal covering up. An old button-down shirt from Dad or Mom makes a great art shirt for preschoolers. You can cut the sleeves shorter, and even put it on the child backwards for added protection. If children learn to always put their art shirts on, it won’t be a big deal because they’ll want to have them on so the art fun can begin!

Stick with watercolors. Unless your child is a budding Rembrandt or Picasso, stick with watercolor paints. They are inexpensive, a snap to clean up, and you don’t have to worry about the paint drying out. Just add water!

Use thicker paper. Office or computer paper doesn’t do a very good job of containing a preschooler’s wet strokes. Using thicker paper, even colored construction paper, will absorb more paint and create less mess.

Dry it quickly with a blow dryer. When you’re finished, you can have that painting ready to hang on the wall by whipping out your blow drying. On a warm (not hot) setting, hold the dryer a foot away and move it back and forth across the paper. To avoid the wavy effect that happens to paper as it dries, point the dryer under the edges of your paper as well.

There you have it, fun painting with your preschooler.

1 Comment

  • 1. Michelle  |  March 7th, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t know why I never thought of making a smock out of an old shirt. I’ve been waiting for the summer when I can send my child outside in his swimsuit to paint.

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