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How on earth do you paint with toddlers?!

(21 Posts)
HensMum Wed 03-Jun-09 19:18:36

Got in from work and decided it would be nice to do some painting with DS (19 months). Have never tried at home before but he does lots at nursery so he's not totally deprived.

Got the finger paints out, put a smock thing on DS and all hell breaks out! He wants to open all pots at once, use a paintbrush and his fingers, sit on my lap and run about with painty fingers! Luckily DP was on hand with damp cloths but inevitably it all ended in a tantrum and the three of us covered in paint (but none on the new sofa, which is the main thing!)

So, how do you do it?! We've already worked out that decanting small amounts of paint into an egg box might be a plan for next time, as would doing it outside but it would be a good rainy day activity so outside is not always an option. We've only got one downstairs room so there's nowhere "safe" to go. I don't mind paint on the floorboards but not the soft furnishings!

Any ideas? Or should I just stick to crayons for a few years?

rubyslippers Wed 03-Jun-09 19:20:49

of course he wants to play with all the paints!

am afraid paints didn't enter our house until DS was a lot older due to the ishoos you mentioned

crayons and pencils are fine

wait till you do glitter at home - but that is a whole new thread ....

holdingittogether Wed 03-Jun-09 19:26:58

Secret is to keep them contained. I do it on the kitchen table. I cover it with an old shower curtain. Then I put overalls/pinny on little ones and sit them on their booster seats which have a lap belt type thing on to stop them falling off and stops them from getting down when you don't want them to! I put a little bit of each colour out with lots of brushes and paper and then leave them to it in that I watch and don't interfere too much. Mostly they do just make a big mess but they have sooo much fun. Clearing up is not so fun though. I remove child from paint, wash hands, wipe face etc and then put them safely in the lounge while I tackle the clearing up. HTH

holdingittogether Wed 03-Jun-09 19:28:05

LOL yes glitter = sparkly floors for weeks!!

HensMum Wed 03-Jun-09 20:10:26

No kitchen table! Most of my problems would be solved by a bigger house. grin

I should have seen it coming, he always enjoys the dipping bit - whether it's bubbles, or paint, or breadsticks - better than the application bit!

Wallace Wed 03-Jun-09 20:51:10

Paints in blocks are good - not so much mess!

Also just water painted onto newspaper is fun

Guitargirl Wed 03-Jun-09 20:53:25

Does he have a highchair? I put DD in her chair at the table which she can't get out of so no running around. Roll up sleeves, let her go to town with the paint/glue/ glitter. When the 'masterpiece' is finished, remove the prized creation and all materials then present child with big bowl of soapy water. Child plays with bubbles in water whilst simultaneously cleaning hands. Then remove bowl, put child somewhere else - in our case usually in front of a DVD whilst I finish cleaning up.

Dysgu Wed 03-Jun-09 21:11:25

Lining paper (for walls) is good as you can put a strip on the floor on newspapers and just let him at it.

I also find the non-spill paint pots from ELC very useful - especially as we often use the kitchen table. They really do not spill even when the black paint pot knocks the cream wall on the fall from the table!

And another 'sunny day' activity is to paint the outside of the house or a garden fence with water - that can keep them busy for absolutely ages and there is no tidying to do!

SarahL2 Wed 03-Jun-09 21:12:16

you could get those aquadraw things. Its a huge mat you draw on with water and colours appear in the wet bits. The brushes only have water in so they don't make a mess and the nats dry out after each painting session to be black and white ready for next time...

SarahL2 Wed 03-Jun-09 21:13:36

that should have been "blank and white" sorry

BoffinMum Wed 03-Jun-09 21:17:50

Hold them upside down and move them around, that's how you paint with toddlers. grin

Guitargirl Wed 03-Jun-09 21:22:14

We use aquadraw at my Mum and Dad's as their place is immaculate and I can see my Mum's hands twitching if I so much as get a packet of crayons out. But the blooming things are so boring - they're finished in 5 seconds flat and there's no lasting masterpiece(!) to proudly stick on the fridge...

pollywobbledoodle Wed 03-Jun-09 21:25:29

stick them in the bath/shower in the buff with the paints

Wallace Thu 04-Jun-09 06:30:55

Boffinmum grin

Littlepurpleprincess Fri 12-Jun-09 08:47:54

You need to be realistic. It should be about play, rather than about creating a picture as he is far to young to understand that yet.

Put some different colours in small pots and let him finger paint on a big piece of paper.


you could fill a large tray with paint and let him explore it with his hands.

While he is playing, talk about what he is doing. About the colours, the texture, the smell, shapes you can make. Like a running commentary. He will get so much out of this. Loads of langauge skills, including mark making, which is the basis for hand writing in the future. Don't give up!

Once you've done finger painting, you can move onto brushes and sponges and rollers, but don't expect him to use them 'correctly' yet. Just let him play with them and do his own thing, he will get much more out of that way.

Rememeber, it should be fun!

Alternatively, go to Sure Start and let them do it with him instead! LOL.

BlueChampagne Fri 12-Jun-09 13:36:55

I put a small blob of each colour on a saucer, and keep the paper coming, and a damp cloth handy to wipe the worst excesses. We paint on the kitchen floor (well, ideally on paper on the kitchen floor!) away from other tempting surfaces like walls.

If it's anything like my experience with DS (21 months) you'll spend more time setting up and cleaning up than actually painting.

For lower-mess creativity, a chalk board has been a great success, though Mummy and Daddy are often called on to demonstrate their (ahem) artistic prowess.

HensMum Fri 12-Jun-09 13:46:20

Oh, I'm not expecting a masterpiece but I think I was not that realistic in my expectation that DS would stand still!

Anyway, I've bought some paint blocks as I thought they'd be less messy and next time I'm definitely going to confine him to the highchair.

I like guitargirl's suggestion of a bowl of soapy water to clean up. He'd love playing with that.

My recent discovery, when the weather was better, was taking the chalkboard easel outside and giving him brushes and water. That was lots of fun, dried really quickly, then he could start again.

Hulababy Fri 12-Jun-09 13:59:51

Do it outside
Dress him in nothing more than pants
Let him use his hands and feet
Get messy
Have a small bath read to pick him up and lift him into

Stick to Aquadraw and craylo mo mess paints for indoor, or you could try the paint stick/pen things in ELC.

Guitargirl Sat 13-Jun-09 21:14:05

HensMum - just one word of warning re the soapy water - the first time we did that DD got a bit overenthusiastic and tipped the whole bowl all over the kitchen table - green water everywhere and I still can't get the marks off the table. Paint coloured water seems to do even more damage than the paint itself!

ThingOne Sat 13-Jun-09 22:39:36

With DS2 I discovered the joy of splat paints. I don't know what they're really called but they are little bottles with a sponge top that a toddler can have fun splat painting with. Buy the more expensive washable ones (ELC's are washable). Now DS2 is three he just won't use them anymore, grrr.

We have a special messy top which I find more useful than an apron and more comfortable. Just whip off today's top and put on the messy top which can get as stained as they wish.

vInTaGeVioLeT Sat 13-Jun-09 23:07:52

take him to play group let him make a mess there - you will be less stressed he will have more fun - my son is four and we only do painting outside grin

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