Kids love painting, but its versatility as an activity can sometimes leave parents wondering where to begin. Whether your little one is just starting to experiment with squelching paint between their fingers, or if you already have a mini Picasso on your hands, this guide to painting activities for kids will keep the whole family entertained (and your kitchen colourfully adorned).
For babies and toddlers: hand painting for kids
Hand painting for kids is messy, sensory, and a great way to get very young kids to experiment with colour and texture. There are no rules (except to aim for the paper, rather than the walls), but as they familiarise themselves with the different colours you can start showing them how mixing them creates lots of different shades.
Thick, gloopy paints are the most fun to play with, and one that washes out of clothes is a sensible choice. Tidiness isn’t the objective here, but it’s always helpful to keep some good absorbent paper towel, like Cushelle on hand to wipe fingers and spillages.
Easy painting ideas for kids: early years
As young children begin to develop their fine motor skills, painting activities for kids can start to involve different objects and apparatus to keep them stimulated and experimenting. They might not be interested in paintbrushes quite yet, but they’ll love using different shaped sponges, packaging, stamps and cookie cutters to create different colourful shapes.
Cushelle toilet rolls are great for rolling out paint and stamping circles onto paper, and kitchen sponges can be cut into a variety of shapes such as hearts and trees. But don’t limit yourself to the household for inspiration: go for a walk to and collect leaves, twigs and stones to use as stamps and stencils.
Painting activities for kids: 5+
As kids begin to reach school age, they’ll start to enjoy depicting the things they see around them, whether that might be a face, a pet, objects around the house, or even characters from their imagination.
Nurture their new-found skill by helping them to paint a face mask (make your own by cutting a face shape out of card and attaching elastic to either side). Guide them through painting the skin and the facial features with a paintbrush, helping them to think about where they go and what colour and shape they are. When you put the mask on and look more like Peppa Pig than mum or dad, they’ll learn to improve the likeness.
Painting for older kids: texture and shape
Once kids have learnt to master colour, paint brushes, and their paintings have started to represent a likeness to their subjects (well, sort of!), it’s time to add some texture and three-dimensionality to your painting activities for kids.
Give an interesting texture to the painting surface by tearing up bits of toilet paper and gluing it onto the paper in fun patterns and shapes. You can then paint over the top to give the objects a 3D effect. Use a strong and absorbent toilet paper that will hold together even when it’s soaked in glue and paint, like Cushelle.
Get sculptural by making some paper mache shapes. Mix ¾ white PVA glue and ¼, dipping in strong tissue (we like Cushelle facial tissues) and craft into shape. Keep a box of tissues on the table so that it’s easy to grab them – even with sticky fingers. Leave the shapes to dry before letting loose with the paint (acrylic works well here), to create patterns and details.
Another option is to make characters or pretty decorations out of egg shells. To drain an egg, poke the end of a needle into the top of an egg. Carefully turn the egg around and make a larger hole at the bottom. Blow into the top of the egg until it is empty. Once it’s fully drowned, your child can decorate the outside with a paint brush.
Painting activities for kids are some of the most fun and expressive, but they’re also the messiest. Let them know it’s not just mum and dad’s job to clean up after painting time by encouraging them to wipe up after themselves using a moistened kitchen towel that’s strong when wet. Make it into a fun race against the clock by seeing if they can get everything done before the paint dries.