Immy (making circles in the paint with her finger): “Beach”
Me: “What can you see at the beach?”
Immy: “Waves,” pauses, “Splash.”
Thoughts about children painting…
The changes to the surface that paint produces absolutely fascinates children.
Initially, for toddlers painting is about experimentation with fingers, hands and brushes. It is fun for them to see the paint move and colours dance around the page in response to their actions.
Although, it is not really colour that is important at this stage. Many children will not worry about having the ‘correct colour’ for their painting until they are well over four years of age, for many (if they are not pressured to ‘conform’) it can be much later.
Children should have the opportunity to experiment with different types of paints – acrylics, watercolours, liquid watercolours, painting pencils, to name just a few.
Experiment too with painting surfaces– white paper, coloured paper, newsprint, canvas, fabric, even bark, can be fun to try.
Improvise brushes with fingers, leaves, sticks, stones, spoons, cotton buds, feathers.
Remember, it is about the joy and freedom of experimentation, not making something look right.
Preschoolers and older children can be taught the process for washing painting brushes;
- Use liquid handsoap and squirt one squirt into their hand,
- Turn on ‘soft taps’ (water running slowly)
- Rub brush gently in their hand, in the soap, and then ‘rinse and rub’ under the water
“One’s relationship to art begins in the early years. The attitudes developed during childhood about creativity and artistic ability carry over into adolescence and adulthood, dramatically influencing interest in art and confidence in creating throughout life.”– Conklin-Thompson (2005)