My kids love to paint. When my daughter was a toddler, we painted almost every day. When my mom friends hear this, their first reaction is, “That’s too messy!” Yes, painting can be messy with kids of any age, especially for the little ones.
Painting is a good way for kids to stretch their creative muscles. Painting is a sensory experience. They see how the colors mix as they brush them onto paper. It feels wet and cold when they finger paint. Different types of paints have distinct scents. The brush plops into the paint and scratches across the paper.
You don’t have to deprive your kids from becoming the next Monet or Picasso. Here are some ways to let them paint and keep it low mess or easy clean-up:
Paint in the Bathtub
Your kid is going to get paint all over them, right? Might as well strip them down to their diaper or undies and let them paint the shower or tub wall. Make sure you’re using a kid-friendly washable paint and to test some on your wall first. Some colors can stain the grout in between your tiles.
After your child is finished painting, hand him or her a spray bottle filled with water and a wash cloth. It’s time to play window washer! See, you’re making them do the cleaning for you! I used to do this all the time with my daughter. After she was done, I’d rinse out the tub and give her a bath. Bonus, while she painted, I took photos and read a magazine.
Control Your Painting Environment
My son can’t sit still. I know part of it is because he’s a toddler, but a moving toddler and paint is not a good combination. He enjoys painting as much as his sister. It’s not fair if I let her paint and not him. So I carefully control his painting area.
First I put an old t-shirt on my toddler. Smocks are good too but we always have extra t-shirts around. Then I strap him into his high chair. I remove the tray and scoot him up to our dining table. Then I cover my table with newspaper-trust me, this is not optional. Then I place a plastic tray in front of him. It’s a tray with a lip (you can find them at Ikea in the kitchen area) so it will contain any spills. The tray is big enough to hold his paper and his paints.
I only give him 2-3 colors of paint at a time. I let him pick out which 3 colors he wants to use. I use an egg carton cut in half (6 cups) to hold the paint. I leave empty sections in between the paint because he’ll probably drip or want to mix them. I give him one brush per color so he doesn’t accidently mix them when he doesn’t want to. All I need is for him to freak out because his red touched his green.
Clean up is easy. Dump the paints, rinse out they tray and the brushes. If the newspaper isn’t dirty you can recycle it.
Go for it!
Are you ready to let your little ones paint now? It’s not as messy as you think.
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About Thien-Kim Lam
Frequently found burning the midnight oil with a mug of coffee, Thien-Kim Lam sneaks in her blogging time after her two young children are in bed. When she’s not blogging or making new friends on Twitter, she’s also a busy running her business as a . Passion Parties rep. Somewhere in between her kids, her husband, and her business she manages to squeeze in some art, some books, and long hot bubble baths. Read more about her Top Chef obsession as well as the fun food and crafts she does with her kids at Cup of Creativi-Tea. Her multicultural parenting musings, tech addiction, and work at home mom tips can be found at I'm Not the Nanny .