Does the idea of letting your preschooler play with paints make you cringe and give you the beginnings of a headache?  No worries.  We’ve been painting like crazy all summer and the Bear and I have it down to a science.  Yes, it’s messy, but it is also fun and can be stress free.  Here’s how we do it.

What You Need:
washable non-toxic paint
paper (really any kind will do, but we prefer cardstock or construction paper)
a 20-30 minute time slot
a hose or kiddie pool
an outside work space


Make It Happen:
We set up on the picnic table my husband made for the kids.  He’s working on a tutorial if you’re interested.  Use one sheet of paper as your child’s palette.  Let them pick 2-3 colors to start with and put a dollop of each color on the palette.  Take off your child’s shirt.  Show them how to dip their fingers in the paint and use their finger as a paint brush.  We also read a book about Curious George mixing paint before we painted for the first time to help with the concept.    


Step back and let them create.  Resist the urge to correct.  Let them mix and swirl and get messy.


Every few minutes bring in a new sheet of paper.  Show them how to make hand prints, a useful skill for grandparent gifts later.  Take some photos and enjoy the flowing creativity.

After about 20 minutes, ask if they are ready to be done (if they haven’t stopped already).  Grab your hose (and possibly and inflatable kiddie pool) and strip them down to wash off.  This might be as fun (or more) than the actual painting.  Give them 2 cups to fill up or and help facilitate a little rinsing.  While they are rinsing, lay out the masterpieces to dry and pick up the paints.  Give your table a wipe down, then dry off your now clean child.  You’re done, and you both survived with your sanity in tact and you get the fun mom of the year award.  Everybody wins!

What’s your favorite preschool art idea?

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