Thursday, September 13, 2012

toddler activities: painting

I talked about painting with toddlers several months ago. It's become a regular activity at our place, so much so that it surprised me to compare these photos with the ones from my previous post to see how differently Genghis interacts with painting after just a few months.

That's one of the things I love about an activity like painting - it grows with your kids.

I'll make you look at all of these great photos, and below, some of my thoughts on ways to do painting with a 2 year old.

Some of my thoughts and tips on painting with 2 year olds:

1. Keep a tub of wet wipes handy for quick cleanups along the way.

2. Expect (and plan for) everything around you and your toddler to get painted on.

3. Start with just the primary colors and talk about mixing them to get different colors.

4. Related to #3, buy big bottles of inexpensive paints. At this age, quantity matters a lot more than quality. One of Genghis's favorite parts of painting is requesting (and receiving) more paint.

5. Try to paint using different brushes and sponges, as well as fingers and hands. Finger, thumb, and hand prints are a lot of fun.

6. Use a painter's palette (a paper plate taped to the table) to squirt paints on, and have toddlers transfer paint to a paper. This works well for generating a few "finished" pieces to send to Grandma and Grandpa (and yes, Grandmas and Grandpas out there, we are working on getting some of Genghis's pieces to you!)

7. Use painting as a way to have meaningful conversations.
  • Tell stories about what happened that day (e.g. "Do you want to paint what we did this morning? We went to the park. You could paint trees with green. Or a yellow slide.")
  • Talk about space and movement (e.g. "Let's paint way up high on the paper. Now let's paint way down low. Can you paint fast? Can you paint slow?")
  • Explore emotions ("When I'm mad I feel like painting like this... When I'm happy I feel like painting like this ...")

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