Painting with kids

I completely get it…I was the mom that was all about art, creating with all the fun mediums and techniques…painting with your kids can be simple.

but oh the mess…and the place to do it…and the time it takes to set it up…have them spend all of 10 minutes or maybe days on end…and then the clean up…so you can have dinner.

Sadly, I think I missed way too many fun painting experiences because of the struggle to fit it in…thinking it always had to be a big ordeal. I so wish some days could be repeated again. Just not to be so uptight…and hug my kids a few more times when they were little bitty.

I want to encourage you to let your kids create…with things they can touch  and feel. I bet we would all agree that our schools do not offer near as many creative outlets as back in our day. And our kids may spend way too much time with a device in their hands. In fact, right now my son is probably in his room on his, but hopefully he is building with his legos…like I asked him to do.

Here are some ways to make it happen with less expense for you and more fun for your kids.

If you have one…set up a small table…remember the card tables grandma had? Make up an art basket that’s totable with a decent quality plastic table cloth. That way you can use your dining room table and cover it easily. You can cut your table cloth in smaller pieces if you only have one person doing art.

Have good lighting…natural light is the best! 

And pick some fun music...

I like to use Pandora and have a couple favorite play lists: 

For kids…Disney Radio or The Piano Guys

For the older crowd…Jack Johnson Radio, Guardians Of the Galaxy Station and my most favorite when I am alone…Bethel Music Radio.

Next up, supplies… 


Any type of fluid acrylics…craft paint or bottles of acrylic in the art section of a craft store. You do not need all the colors…black , white, red, yellow and blue make about any color you can imagine. But craft paints are cheap enough to grab all the favorite colors.
Tube paints are not necessary and can get quite expensive as they are heavier and you will go through them much faster. When you reach a point of intentional painting they are great though.

Also do not forget watercolors are so much fun as well. I have lots of simple watercolor tutorials on my facebook page


2 decent quality ones are all you really need at first. It is still all I use after 10 plus years of painting. I like a good flat brush about 1/2” wide and a small round brush. BUT if you do not take care of and clean your brushes after every time you use them you will ruin them. Trust me, I still think I can leave my brush in the water and come back later…which is usually much later than I plan..and it has left my brush in a not so great state.

Other things you can paint with:

fingers, old credit card, sponge pieces, old tooth brush, newspaper, paper towels…you get it!

Teach your kids early to take care of brushes like this…

Do not leave brushes in water when finished painting.
Use a mixture of dish soap and Murphy’s oil soap ( you find it in the cleaning section of most stores) 1:1 ratio is fine…you can have some pre-mixed in a squirt bottle for convenience. I rinse my brushes first, squirt a little soap right across the bristles in my hand, scrub with a soft swirly motion to loosen all the paint, and rinse until no color washes out. Repeat if necessary.
Re-shape bristles and lay flat to dry on a paper towel. 

Do not leave brushes in water when finished painting…I said that already didn’t I?

What can you…and should you paint on? 

For me? I paint on everything…walls…buildings…wood…paper…canvas…porches…

But for you, let’s start small…er! 

Of course there is a canvas to paint on, but that can get expensive and take up space if you use the deep profile ones. Value packs at an art supply/hobby store are great places to get them. Also canvas boards which are flat. The good thing about these are once they dry you can paint them again.

I paint them white…or black and re-use them often.

Other options are mixed-media paper, watercolor paper(these can be bought in pads), cardboard, boxes…do you get tons of boxes from amazon now?? Cut them up and paint a base coat of white and then use them. No shortage of those at our house! Also, the cardboard inside of picture frames, back covers of notebooks, book covers, cereal boxes…I think you realize now you may have plenty of free things to use. 

Other things to have on hand…

  • Wax coated paper plates
  • Paper towels 
  • A can of water or two
  • Old shirt or apron to wear
  • Pictures…lots of ideas! 

Now, what to paint?

Sometimes this is the hardest part…what to paint!???

Let your kids copy…copy…copy. Give yourself permission to do this too! It’s ok. I have all my life and still do often. It will be their best teacher. What a safe way to learn from our mistakes, right?! It really is safe! Trust me! 

Let them paint…

  • animals
  • famous painters artwork
  • landscapes
  • a still life
  • what they see
  • what they don’t see
  • what they hear…feel
  • abstract

Want some more ideas???

Print off this great resource for ideas…30 Days of Painting

Let them learn the colors.

What they do when you mix them, layer them…don’t wait for them to dry…wait for them to dry…dark colors, bright colors…new colors and even more colors…add layers and more layers and repeat again.

There is no right or wrong in this process…just playing with color and movement. They may hate it or love it. Let them paint over the ones they hate and keep the ones they love (you may not not feel the same as they do…that’s ok let them be)

Super, super important to not get too “bossy” with how your kids paint…wait it out so they don’t want to give up because they think it’s not right…so so important!

SO I hope this helps open the door to more creative freedom in your kids and you as well.

Happy painting!

I am going to make it even easier for you! I am giving you the link to purchase my favorite art supplies right here…Laurie’s Favorite Painting Supplies

I am an affiliate with this company which only means they just give me a few cents for sharing their awesome stuff with you…at NO extra cost to you!

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