Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Painting Doesn't Have to be a Mess! Tips to Keep Painting a Fun and Clean Experience for your Kids and for Yourself.

So many kids do not get to paint at home because the messy paint is too stressful for some moms. Kids LOVE to paint. I feel so bad for kids who tell me, "My mom won't let me paint." Those kids are missing out on such wonderful creative experience.

I leave the paints out on a shelf at kid level for my kids. They can grab the paints any time they wish and paint away. I love the paintings I have on my walls, all painted by my own artists. Creativity flows in this household. How on earth am I not afraid to keep the paints out for my kids to use? I taught them early on about how to paint properly, and how to have fun with it, without making a mess. And people who know me know I am not an anal person. I am not a clean freak. And I certainly don't pressure the kids to be either.

So what can you do to help your kids have a clean - free painting experience? Here are my tips:

1. Put down newspaper or paper on the table or floor. My daughter loves to paint on the floor. I do have a cloth for her to paint on. When she uses her easel, we put the easel on it too.

2. Make sure you have a fresh cup or two of water to put the brushes in to clean them off. Have the kids dab the wet brushes on paper towel to clean off left over color and excess water.

3. Use one color at a time:

a. For younger kids - have them paint with one color. Then let that color dry. Get the next color out. Have that color dry. This way you don't have a bunch of paint out at one time, and by letting each color dry, their painting comes out looking the way they envisioned instead of one giant blob of brown ick.

Put just a dollop of paint on a piece of paper for your child to dip his/her brush into. If they are allowed to dip their brush into the big bottle of paint, they will end up with way too much paint on the brush - hence how big paint messes are created.

b. For older kids - let them put a "little" bit of different colors of paint on a paint palette. A little bit of paint goes a long way. Make sure they clean their brushes as they change colors.

4. Each of my kids has a painting shirt. They use the same shirt every time they paint. This way, mom, you don't have to worry about paint getting on that new shirt you just bought. The kids like their paint shirts too because it shows all the paints and different colors they have used.

5. Wash you paint brushes with soap and water when done. Let them dry before you put them away. If you keep them in a cup, store them with the brush tips facing up.

Happy Painting!


Kimberly Eddy said...

Hey, just found you through someone on Twitter!

This is a GREAT post.

My kids are all older now (ages 10, 11, 12, 14, and 16), and I don't regret one time allowing them to be creative and paint, and even make some messes along the way. I grew up remembering a mom always telling me "not now" or "Don't make a mess" and that's not the memories I wanted mine to have. They are now so creative and that is exciting.

Another suggestion you may want to try or maybe will help your readers is to go to Walmart or other store and buy some vinyl fabric by the yard (usually sold on a roll). I bought some, and we laid it down on a floor or put it on a table (depending on the mood) and used that for painting or other craft things. It's cheaper than buying tablecloths usually, and you can buy quite a large amount of it too.

Also, having taught some art classes, I have taught the kids in my classes, as well as my own kids, that when painting, always rinse your brush, then dab it on paper towel (to dry and get extra water off of it), then rinse in clean water (so two cups of water), that way the water color colors don't get too smeared together. Fairly young (early elementary) kids can get this concept and are thankful to not have muddy colors.

Kristie said...

Thanks for your input Kimberly. You're right, you do need to dab your paintbrushes after rinsing from using a color. I forgot to put that in. If you don't mind I'm going to edit and add that in.

I also like your suggestion of using a vinyl fabric. My grandma had that for us to use at her house as kids. The cloth (really more of a pad) that my daughter uses is some sort of sq. vinyl pad that my mom got for her with her easel. I have no clue what it is called, but is sure is cute. Everything washes right up. She's 7 now so she really doesn't make much of a mess.