Painting with toddlers

Martha is obsessed with painting. After cuddles with Daddy, milk, and Hey Duggee it's easily her most favourite thing in the world.

The other two loved painting too, but their enjoyment was nothing on hers. It's lovely to watch! 

And I know it's a bit 'oh my gosh my child is amazing', but oh my gosh, my child is AMAZING ;)

She turned two in November and she is painting faces. I feel like that's quite good right?

Because she wants to paint ALL the time, we've come up with some ways to make it easier - and less messy - for us. If you've got toddlers I hope this helps :)

1. Watercolours

Watercolours are hands down my most favourite paints for children. They're easy to use, give gorgeous results, aren't too messy, and they last. We learnt two kids ago that those cheap 'kids' paints - you know the kind that come in big tubs of bright colours, all gloopy and sticky - they're not so great. They're cheap but they're just so messy and they very quickly become a brown sludge on the paper when a toddler uses them together. 

But watercolours are a whole different story. I know they're more expensive, but I really think it's worth it. Kids love using decent art materials, and it gives them confidence when the results are better. The kind of confidence and willingness to experiment is a great thing :)

We have a few little palettes of watercolours like these ones, and these ones, and they're fab.

2. Big paper

We tend to give Martha A3 sheets of what we call sugar paper here in the UK. It's just a thick slightly textured paper that holds it's form really well. Alternatively we use the rolls of paper from Ikea that fit onto her easel. Which leads to...

3. An easel

Matilda and Theo never had an easel, but already I can see how much of an impact it's had on Martha. She uses it every day. Multiple times. Nearly as much as her Wobbel board! We've got the basic kids easel from Ikea and it's great. It means she has her own art space, and that seems to mean a lot - even at her teeny age. Plus we don't have to keep getting materials out and putting them away all the time.

If you don't have space for an easel a highchair tray works well too :)

4. A long sleeved bib or overalls!

Now I know I said watercolours weren't as messy, but we're still mixing them with a toddler and that means at least some level of mess! Another Ikea purchase (can you tell we're fans?!) this one is great

5. Put the water in a heavy pot

We learnt this the hard way!! After a few *a lot* of spillages after using plastic cups for the paint water, we realised - heavy is better!

Martha loves to use her paintbrush in different ways - stabbing it onto the paper, using the tip in gentle sweeps, swishing it in circles, painting her fingers, using the wooden end to scratch into the paint, whatever works.

It's fun and she's learning so much.

I know getting creative with toddlers can feel overwhelming - it's the mess I'm sure of it. But it's so much fun really, and they love it.

And trust me on the watercolours - total game changer :)

✂️ For more brilliant craft ideas for toddlers and children head to our Reuse & Recycle page.

✂️ Or have a browse of our Pinterest boards for even more craft and play ideas.




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