Toddler Painting 101

This week I decided to brave my fear of 'giant un-cleanable messes' and break out the paints with my toddler. We have painted a few times before and each time it has ended in near death. Ok I'm exaggerating. However, trying to reason with a toddler who wants to body paint instead of create art on paper is hard!

This week I guess I was feeling optimistic! Plus, the sheer joy painting brings to my kid is incredibly infectious. I just become a giant mush pile watching him smile and have fun...even if he is making a giant mess. Since we started this whole paint thing I have learned a few tricks that helped keep the piece during art time. I've decided to share them here with you all, I hope it helps the clueless and brings a smile to all!

`If you paint outside...good for you! You are smart. If you are like me and decide to paint inside, start by covering the floor, table and chair with old sheets. These old sheets have now become our art sheets.

`I like to tape the sheet to the table so it doesn't move while my mini-Picasso works his magic.

`Next I tape a piece of butcher paper down. Again so it doesn't move.

`We have tried finger painting and I would rather stick a fork in my eye. Honestly. There are probably paint brushes out there for toddler's chubby hands...but I found the cheapest and most fun way to paint is with potato stamps! My mom and her best friend use to make these for us when we were kiddos and they are pretty rad. And super easy! Plus the potato fits nice and snug in a toddler hand. Double plus, listening to my toddler say potato stamp is hilarious! "Taato sss fampt"

(Below are some photos on how I made mine)

`See! Super easy. Just be careful not to cut your fingers.

`Another good thing to remember is start out with using the smallest amount of paint as possible! Seriously, like dime size squirts of paint on a plate. (washable paint of course) I found that starting with a generous amount of paint began a paint frenzy. Sort of like "ahhhh all this paint!! I must smear it all over everything including my body!!!" With small portions of paint, I could control how much paint my toddler actually used.

`Always start art time after a nap. Or whenever your toddler is in their best mood. This usually helps bypass any meltdowns, where paint can be thrown, pushed, splashed etc. If your toddler doesn't have me your secret asap.

`Always make sure you have enough time to actually create art. Once I decided to start painting with my toddler, and a half hour into it we had to pack it up and leave. This resulted in another meltdown because I'm sure my toddler was feeling inspired and didn't want to stop his creative juices flowing. Whatever the case might be, it is important to allow time for your child to think, create, play, create and finish their project. Unless of course your kid is milking art time way past bed time. Then feel free to

`Lastly, set up some paper for you! I found that having my toddler watch me paint with him made him more happy. It also gave me a chance to show off good painting etiquette. He copied me exactly...which meant no paint anywhere but the paper!

If we keep this up...we may paint again tomorrow!

Happy Painting!