Paint | Day 15 – 30 Days to Transform Your Play

30 Days to Transform Your Play Painting {An Everyday Story}

30 Days TYP Day 15 Paint {An Everyday Story}contains affiliate links

Jack started painting when he was about 6 weeks old. Sarah was about the same age too. We used old clothes… or no clothes… washable non-toxic paint and lots of space to explore.

I knew from very early on that I wanted my children to experience the world; its textures, its colours, its sights and sounds; all of it. When they were babies I sat them on the grass, they played with ice and mud, paint and sand. I wanted to fill their senses.

Painting with Babies {An Everyday Story} Painting - babies {An Everyday Story}

I am often asked how to get started with painting, and how to get children to spend more than five minutes at the table; my advice is always, paint, and paint often.

Paint with no product in mind, paint just to explore. Paint with the expectation that your child will run it through their fingers, up their arms, over the table and yes, in their mouths. Paint expecting the mess. Prepare for it. And enjoy it!

Setting up the Paints:

How does your child like to paint? How do they usually approach paint?

Even though Jack (5 yrs) can paint pictures, he still enjoys creating abstract art and exploring paint in a very tactile and often whole-body way.

Sarah (3 yrs) is starting to create pictures but still prefers to see what paint can do by slopping it on and pushing it around with different tools and her hands.

How do you usually set out paints?

I think similarly to playdough, we can often overlook paint; not thinking too much about which colours we put out, the type of paper we provide and the quality of the brushes. However being mindful of these three things can completely change the experience for our children.

Think about red, blue and yellow fingerpaints…

  • they can be claggy and when used together, mix to give a very unappealing brown muck colour.

Think now of blue and white poster paints

  • or red and white… or blue, yellow and white…. poster paints can still be washable and they have a nice smooth texture, however when these colours are mixed together they create much more pleasing colours.
  • And it doesn’t matter if your child mixes the brushes up because each colour compliments the other

30 Days to Transform Your Play Painting {An Everyday Story}

30 Days to Transform Your PlayThink now of paint pots.

  • It’s difficult to see the colours inside and so less appealing to children.
  • Instead, try some old baby food jars, transparent containers or simple take-away containers. Now we can see which colours we have to work with.
  • An ice-cube tray is a nice way to make new colours from the colours available

How to set up a Reggio painting activity - An Everyday StoryTask:

  • choose two complimenting colours along with some white and a little black
  • present them in some clear open containers
  • include a container (like an ice-cube tray) for paint mixing and some small spoons or a chopstick
  • offer a selection of brushes – different thickness
  • if you have one, pop a mirror underneath the clear containers of paint to further emphasise the colour  – I picked up some lovely round ones from Top Bargain (dollar store) recently for less then $3 each
  • if you like, include some still life objects (something of interest to your child) – something you found on a nature walk, a favourite toy, a collection of beautiful treasures
  • have lots of paper ready – keep an eye out for when their paper becomes saturated with paint and offer a new piece
  • sit back and enjoy the creative mess that will follow

Come and share your painting set-up on Facebook or on Instagram using #30daystyp

Art Books:

Some wonderfully inspiring art books that I think you will enjoy –

Some posts you might like:

If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning


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6 Replies to “Paint | Day 15 – 30 Days to Transform Your Play”

  1. We use washable acrylics with both kids and I’ve just introduced watercolours with my 3 yr old. My daughter paints mostly to explore colour, I’ve noticed. We also use paint to explore the idea of symmetry in ‘butterfly paintings’ (where you fold the paper over). My daughter also loves hand prints, we now have prints of her little hands all over the outside walls of the house!

  2. I’m really enjoying your 30 days to transform play! I love your tip to put a mirror under the paints. Whenever my 2 yr old paints, she immediately paints her entire hands. She loves the sensory experience of it. She would probably love to finger paint on a mirror! I’ll have to try that soon.

    1. What an incredible idea! I shall definitely be putting this out there over the holidays for the kiddie inks – though I suspect the eldest (10 yo) will want to record the moment by pressing paper over the top to capture the image

  3. Shannonmcm3 says:

    This series is such a great resource! I just referred back to this entry to clarify set up and colours for painting tomorrow. We’ve been painting so much more since I moved the materials outside (seems so obvious now that I can’t believe they were ever inside).

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