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Toddler Painting

January 22, 2014

When my nearly 3-year-old started rummaging through my craft drawers and came up with a handful of paints, my first inclination was to say no. But I decided to say yes and it turned out to be a wonderful painting experience!

I had three cheap canvases that I’d once covered with fabric and used as wall decor. We were tired of looking at them and had moved the bed into the other room anyway (long story) so I decided to rip off the fabric and let him paint on the canvas. It was a wonderful idea!

At this stage, he’s not really concerned with keeping his art. He’s much more interested in playing with the paint– swirling it with a brush, mixing colors, and making patterns– than he is with creating an actual product. The canvas is the perfect stage for this type of creative play. It doesn’t rip like paper and can withstand layer upon layer of paint. Once it dries, we can easily hang it on the wall for him to see and if the mood strikes, we will just paint over it.

This was also a wonderful activity for learning color and shape words. I’m slowly trying to incorporate more school-esque activities into our day. As we sat together, he asked me to open the different colors of paint and make the different shapes. This type of authentic vocabulary usage is much more powerful than drilling him with “What color is this?” and “What shape is that?”

It was also so relaxing to sit and swirl the paint around! I was surprised that I enjoyed it just as much as he did. When was the last time you dragged a brush through red, lime green, purple, and teal? Have you tried mixing silver with brown? How many shapes can you make with a sponge tip brush?

Further evidence of how much fun we had is the lack of “action shots” I took. All these are from our finished work. At least, it’s finished for now. Maybe we will re-paint tonight.

Have you ever used a canvass to paint with your small child? When was the last time you said yes to something your little one asked?


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