Simple Provocation: Watercolours & Drawing Materials

Kids Art Activities with Watercolours - An Everyday Story

Simple Provocations Engaging Explorations You Can Set Up in Minutes - An Everyday Story

Today’s Simple Provocation is pretty simple πŸ™‚ I saw recently an art teacher who had offered her students oil pastels, watercolours and fine-tip permanent markers; the effect was really nice. The oil pastels added some lovely texture and the watercolour wash seemed to really tie the piece together.

I thought we’d give it a go. (Here’s a picture on Instagram of the kids working)

Preschool Art Ideas with Watercolours - An Everyday StoryMaterials:

  • watercolour paints – palette style or liquid watercolours
  • watercolour paper – Creativ brand from Kmart works well and is very affordable; I’m talking $4 for 25Β pages. Can’t beat that πŸ™‚
  • oil pastels – we have chunky style and stick versions (the stick versions break more easily but also allow the child to draw in more detail. The chunky style are better for smaller hands and are also good for colouring.)
  • fine-tip permanent markers – 0.4mm Artline markers are great for older children but the nibs can be pressed in easily by smaller kids. Sharpies are great for younger kids but don’t allow the child to draw in as much detail (Jack prefers the Artline markers for this reason)


  • clipboard for under the paper
  • spare watercolour paper in a tray
  • tray for oil pastels
  • water containers – clear or white ones look nice. I try to avoid brightly coloured ones
  • a range of brushes – again we just use Creativ brand from Kmart
  • watercolours – run your palette under the tap before you start to make the paints easier to use

Preschool Art Ideas with Watercolours - An Everyday StoryProcess:

Encourage your child to draw first, then add some oil pastels and finally a watercolour wash over the top to fill in any white paper. Of course though, the process is entirely up to them; just let them create and explore.

Preschool Art Ideas with Watercolours - An Everyday Story
Sarah – 3yrs “Our family”
Elementary Art Activities with Watercolours - An Everyday Story
Jack – 5yrs “Terry Lost in New York”
Kids Art Activities with Watercolours - An Everyday Story
Jack – 5ys “Two Dogs Fighting and it’s Sunset”

If you have a go, take a picture and upload it to Instagram (or my Facebook wall). Make sure to tag me; I’d love to see it. I’m @kate_aneverydaystory .

10 Replies to “Simple Provocation: Watercolours & Drawing Materials”

  1. Soy profesorasss de ninos, gracias Por compartir estas experiencias.

  2. UnschoolingMama says:

    Jack’s statue of liberty–amazing!

  3. Beautiful! We combine oil pastels and watercolours often but haven’t tried with a marker too. I will have to. The pictures are lovely!

  4. Such vibrant pictures. I love the tip about running the watercolours under the tap -why didn’t I think of that?! I individually wet each one to get him started…

    My 3yr old son prefers to be roaming outdoors, he has free access to art materials (as well as me setting up provocations). He does enjoy it but doesn’t stay at it for long.

    This may change though as I think we’ll be doing more art because he’s broken his femur and has to have a whole leg cast πŸ™ so no running about exploring this summer!

    Thanks for the ideas!

  5. Such a gorgeous combination of techniques… love it! and their pictures are soooo lovely – 2 dogs fighting at sunset, I mean, c’mon!!! Too cute for words πŸ™‚

  6. Hi, I’m always so inspired by this blog! I’m curious if you have any suggestions for helping to nurture a young child’s drawing skills. My son turned 3 in December and I find that his drawings are still scribbles. Is there a way to help him be more deliberate or do I need to be more patient?


    1. Hi Heather πŸ™‚ Thank you so much. Your son is still quite young, I think I wouldn’t be too concerned; drawing, like writing, is a developmental skill. When he has mastered the necessary fine motor skills – as well as his cognitive development – his drawings will begin to resemble more forms.

      You can help him by giving him as much opportunity to draw and really become familiar with different drawing materials – the more practice the more he will become confident using different drawing materials. Oil pastels, soft chalk pastels and chalk are all very engaging to work with for little children – they can be a little messy though so be prepared with some hand towels. Also, have drawing materials readily available; clipboards and markers in the playroom, a caddy of drawing pencils and paper on the dining table, an open container of chunky chalk outside – all of these will encourage him to draw.

      You can also try encouraging him to draw while he plays; saying things like, “I like how you have built that block tower, let’s draw a picture of it.” and then give him the opportunity to draw. Try to resist telling him what to draw and how to draw, you just want to encourage him to pick up the pencil and make marks – the form will come in time.

  7. kids!!! The Drawing are so nice and cool!! watercolors are kids favorites!!

  8. Hi Kate I found your site a few weeks ago & it’s beautiful! Thank you! I have been offering my 3yr old daughter back her artwork and I’m blown away, they are beautiful! Her most recent ones have been going on the dining table for a whole week!! I just wondered where you got your little wooden trays for pastels etc & little wooden stand with coloured pots in this post?

    1. Hi Leonie, that is so wonderful to hear! That happens here too πŸ™‚ I have to keep packing up their art at dinner time and then putting it back out again the next day. And each time they add to it, it just adds another beautiful layer.

      The wooden stand with the glass jars for the watercolours was from Dragonfly Toys. Are you in Australia? If not, Nova Natural Toys in the US also stock them and I have seen them on Amazon too. The little wooden trays though came with a set of wooden food. I do buy a lot of our trays and baskets from charity stores though and Kmart have a good range too which are affordable.

Comments are closed.