Project #5: Teaching Painting to Children
Watercolour fun! and Colour Experimentation
(While this craft is easy, I know from experience that lots of mamas aren’t a big fan of messy painting. If you’d like to learn a very helpful way of setting up the activity of teaching painting to children, so that children become self-managing, careful and considerate of the paint and materials very quickly, you can find it in my book . There’s a helpful story there too. You can use this tip with any kind of paint too. It’s my little secret but it can be yours too!)
Now, you might be wondering why I’ve included watercolour painting in this 30 days of nature crafts. Painting doesn’t seem to fit, does it? BUT the next two activities use water-coloured painted paper, so you’ll have to make some too!
Ned and I had marvellous fun playing with colour yesterday. Bright, bold, patterns on the page, and lots of scientific experimentation too. I love that watercolour painting especially offers children the chance to find things out for themselves. They discover that mixing two colours makes another one appear (Look Mum, blue and yellow makes green!) and make MUD too. Oh, the fun and joy of swirling all your colours into a great big blob of poo. They love it.
When it comes to painting, I like watercolours the best but that doesn’t mean I don’t use other types of paint too. I love watercolour pencils, acrylics are essential for painting wee dolls and detail, and watercolours themselves can be applied in so many ways (bubble painting, spray bottles, with cotton buds, washes over crayon drawings…) But for little children, using watercolours on a page allows them to stay in a ‘dreamy’, flowing state of consciousness (as opposed to becoming too analytical or professor-like too early!). Watercolours allow them to PLAY, and to watch the colours swirl and mix and meld. It is fun!
For those children who have already discovered their inner critic, drawing, and/or painting with acrylics or other mediums can be very confronting and challenging. They may lack confidence or a belief in their ability (No, I can’t do that; I can’t paint; I can’t draw…) or may have already learned to compare themselves with others (I can’t draw like Tom. He can do dinosaurs and rainbows.)
Watercolour painting is often the KEY to free them from that, and allows them a secret pathway back to their own creative forces. We really need to give them every chance. CREATIVITY is the future and I have a feeling that the world and all its riches will belong only to those who can transform their creative ideas into action. Guard your child’s creative self-belief more than anything. Now, more than ever, it is vital.
For this activity, Ned and I used Stockmar paints. Stockmar Paints are made from gum arabic and fine, natural colour pigments. Ok, so there is my ‘nature’! I’ve been using these paints exclusively for years now because the colours are so vibrant. I’ve yet to find better. We only have the primary colours at home but that’s plenty. We can make the secondary colours by mixing them up ourselves on the page. For those who are interested, the paper I’m using is 150 grams weight. The more sturdy the better anyway.
Today’s painting is all about colour experimentation, and playing with lines and shapes. I just let Ned go for it, (showing him my secret trick of keeping the colours separate) and he loved it. Especially the bit at the end when he made ‘poo’. What is with that? Some children just love to swizzle up all the colours into one and make brown! (I’ll often stop him just before the point of no return and say, “oh look, your paper is full! Mama will take it outside to dry” so we at least have a few colourful examples for the fridge or to cut up for birthday cards and posters.)
I painted too! That is a key to engagement when it comes to little children. If I do it, they are much more likely to do it too.
It also works with imitation too. I painted a rainbow, so Ned painted his version of a rainbow too.
You might like to paint a rainbow for tomorrow’s nature craft, or fill a page with colourful stripes. Or perhaps paint a big yellow sun in the centre of the page and make it radiate out towards the edges with orange, red, purples too. These paintings will be lovely to use in our upcoming crafts.
To see all 30 Nature Crafts, visit here.