When first introducing painting, we want to only supply one colour. This helps prevent this activity from being overwhelming. It also keeps the process nice and simple; wet the brush, apply paint from the paint cake, and add to our surface (we used canvas the first time, for a keepsake, and watercolor painting paper afterwards).

We decided to use tempera paint cakes over watercolours. I wasn’t able to find watercolours that I was able to separate and that were large enough for our needs–for beginners a larger surface area is recommended versus a smaller one. The tempera paint has beautiful pigmentation and can be layered upon to create darker tones.

As with their DIY Buddha boards (similar to this one), I only supply a little amount of water in their cup. This helps keep water messes manageable, especially since the girls assist in cleaning any messes up.

The first time I introduced this activity, we only used one cake, even though there are two painting. This was the first time we brought out their art aprons, which was such a life saver. (Their aprons were purchased at a local craft fair, but here is one that is similar.)

Having them share a paint cake just didn’t work as well as I was hoping. It part, I think it was because it couldn’t be as close to them and in the correct order. So the next time we did painting I made sure to make a few simple changes.

I had them sit at separate ends of their weaning table, for more space, gave them each a container of water and their own paint. It was such a huge difference! They enjoyed their time, I enjoyed watching them; it was an all around (albeit messy) lovely experience. There were a few reminders that their paint belongs in the bowl.

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly children pick-up the order of an activity. Ideally, we would keep this activity on the shelf. But as the girls are still mouthing a lot, I prefer it to supervised, for safety. We also don’t have a dedicated area for art. Once I finish setting-up a more appropriate art area (perhaps downstairs?) they will have art trays readily available.

Have you introduced painting to your little one? Do you have a dedicated art area?

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