Painting for Preschoolers

28 02 2008

I’ve seen so many great posts about painting and young children recently that I’ve become obsessed with Seth experiencing some serious painting. We’ve done painting with dry water colors and spotty paint (paint & applicator in one) but we haven’t done what I consider full blown painting. I’ll admit it’s because I’ve been a little scared of it, mostly the mess it’ll make. We make big enough messes around here without adding colorful goo to the mix. However, I couldn’t hold out any longer, my obsession was growing by the day. My parents had cobbled together a fabulous easel for Seth made out of one the neighbors tossed out and my easel from when I was a kid. They drove it across three states to get here. Included with it came new brushes, fabulous spill proof cups and jars of powdered tempera from when I was a kid. Wow! They rock! It also provided a daily reminder and motivator of what I wanted to accomplish.

Unfortunately, after several attempts I’ve given up on the powdered tempera. I just couldn’t get it to mix well. I thought I was finally on to something by using really hot water and a little dish soap. Alas these efforts were in vain. After Seth’s masterpieces dried the paint turned right back into powder at the slightest touch covering the floor in a fine dust. Pooh!

OK, get over it! I broke down and purchased a few bottles of liquid tempera and this last weekend we set to work. Seth had a blast. We tried mixing colors in a plastic bag as he’s been asking a lot of questions lately about what color you get when you mix this and that. Lessons learned: next time we’ll use more paint and a smaller bag. He still got the point and enjoyed it. Of his own accord he brought out a spinning disk his Auntie had given him. He wanted to see the rainbows it makes when the sunlight refracts onto the wall.

Next I let Seth go with the paints. On a tip from his preschool teacher I placed a dollop of each color onto a paper plate for him to use as a palette. I meant to only do 3 colors but he talked me into 6. I’m such a sucker. End result? A beautiful purple “rainbow”.

I can’t wait to do more painting. And by “I”, I mean Seth. I adore the color themed projects on My Kids Art as I would really love to break Seth out of his green obsession. I’ve also already purchased some inexpensive canvases for Seth to give a try as suggested by Jean at The Artful Parent. I’ve picked out a place on the wall for them and everything. He’s also requested finger paints. This is another scary thought that I need to, and will, get over. More ideas from my youth I’m wanting to experiment with: monoprints, salted watercolors, blobs of paint between a folded sheet of paper, blown ink painting, marble roll painting as well as fruit and veggie prints. Any other suggestions?

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7 responses

29 02 2008
painted fish studio

can i come over and paint with you and seth sometime? :)

29 02 2008
threesneakybugs

Any time!

4 03 2008
keda

I just discovered your blog today! I think I got here from parenthacks? Your art making sounds really fun and because I want you to be able to use that powdered tempera paint I wanted to let you know that it worked really well for us the other day.

We had a painting afternoon with my 20 month old son and two of his same-age buddies and it went really well. I used powdered tempera paints mixed with watered down home-made fingerpaint (cornstarch and water cooked up together – there are heaps of recipes available). To avoid the ‘purple rainbow’ issue we also only gave them red, yellow. blue and white paint – and I guiltily encouraged them to ignore the yellow.

I’m off to explore your blog a bit further and check out other ideas for art projects :-)

4 03 2008
threesneakybugs

keda – I hope you like the rest of what you see. Thanks for the tip on the powdered tempera. I may just go out and buy a few new jars as the ones I have are over 30 years old, possibly older. They are relics from my mother’s art teacher days. I wonder if they weren’t exposed to extreme temperatures or something as they just wouldn’t dissolve. I think a fresh jar deserves a chance though.

7 03 2008
Lori

lol, we used to call that particular color “preschool brown” :^)

you deserve some sort of award for using the world’s oldest tempera!! :^)

5 04 2008
Cassi

Hi Anna,
Try mixing the powdered tempera with liquid starch – that’s how we did it in my preschool teaching days :) You have a great blog, I’m having fun exploring!

23 06 2008
Anna Y

I don’t know if you need any ideas/help with monoprinting but I came across this blog post ages ago. http://neststudio.typepad.com/moopy_me/2008/02/nest-studio-art.html I really love her moopy dolls and fabric designs….

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