MONTESSORI TODDLER: INTRO TO PAINT CAKES

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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