Small children do not create masterpieces, they create what adults call mess; however they definitely get a huge amount of enjoyment from the process of painting so it's got to be worth the hassle.
|Getting an early taste for painting.
|Zac not limited by paper!
It's maybe also worth knowing that little kids are not trying to come up with a fantastic end product, once they've done the fun part they generally don't care what happens to the outcome, so although I'm as sentimental as the next mummy, and certainly put their first ever paintings on display on a cupboard door, after that I didn't feel too bad about rolling up most of their paint-sodden creations and binning them as soon as they were distracted by something else.
|Using the slide as an easel.
|Decorating the tree house
|Tennis ball printing!
Outside, you don't even have to use paint. Brushes and water seem to do the trick on their own. We've got a rendered wall which shows up the wet brush-strokes really well, and then they "magically" disappear again when they dry. And if you paint each other, there's no major clean up afterwards!
|Painting with water.
None of these ideas for things to do with paint are mine. You can pick them up watching Mr Maker type programs on tele or reading parenting books/magazines. The only tricky part is making yourself try them and then going with it when the kids take the idea and do something totally unexpected with it!
|Zac aged 4 with his battleship painting!
Other things to do with paint-
Any kind of printing- hand prints and foot prints of course and also dipping different shaped vegetables, toy car wheels, lego bricks etc in paint to see what pattern they make- so long as they can be washed, the kids will have just as much fun doing the washing up afterwards.
|Squirty butterfly pictures.
Butterfly pictures. They use a lot of paint but the boys still love doing this. Fold a big piece of paper in half and then open it out. Using squeezy bottles squirt blobs of paint all over one side of the paper. Fold the other side over. Smooth it with your hands so the blobs will spread and blend together. Open it up and Hey Presto, it's a beautiful butterfly!
Bubbly painting. When they're little it's best to use a sponge to make the bubbles. Add a little water and washing up liquid to paint and let them squeeze a sponge in it until they get a lot of colourful foam, Squeeze the foam onto a tray or wipe-clean table cloth, then lay some paper on top to get a bubbly print. Once you can trust them to only "blow not suck" you can give them a straw to blow bubbles in the soapy paint mixture. You get bigger bubbles that make a different kind of print.