My kids love to paint. They make a glorious mess while doing it, but it keeps them occupied and happy and the mess they make is usually worth it for the amount of time it keeps them busy. They can sit there for a good half hour or more working on painting after painting. As long as I keep an eye on them and supply them with fresh paper they are happy and I can do a few things nearby while they are creating.
I like to try different methods of painting with the kids, allowing them to explore and create, showing them that there is more to painting than just using paint and a brush. This allows them to explore different textures, colors and methods of creating pictures. Now this does not always work out as planned but at least I am able to introduce the concept to them.
So the other day we did apple stamping (yes more apples). Similar to potato stamping it is a unique and interesting way to create a picture. We have so many apples, so many that I have been baking daily to use them up before they go bad; that I felt covering one or 2 in paint would not be a waste. Besides there are more things to do with apples other than eat them, at least I thought so.
Apple stamping is quite easy to do. Simply cut an apple in half crosswise, so that you have the ‘star’ pattern in the middle. Cover the cut side of the apple with paint and then stamp it on your paper. Do this repeatedly making any pattern you desire.
Now with the twins, at first I put a bit of paint on a piece of paper and let them dip the apple in the paint and stamp it on the paper. This method put too much paint on the apple and did not create the pattern when it was stamped; instead just created a large glob. Then Luke decided to get a paint brush and brush paint onto his apple. This worked much better. It enabled him to put on enough paint to get a good stamp and he could stamp it a few times before needing to reapply. It also created less mess and minimized the amount of paint everywhere else!
Painting with kids though can be messy. It is challenging to get away from it and I feel as that getting messy can be part of the fun, and the creating. Some things I have learned though to at least minimize the mess when painting with young children, are the following:
- Put out the paint in little bits at a time by filling a container like an egg carton or something similar. Do not leave the paint bottle out as when they feel they need more paint they will pour it out where they see fit or fill the egg carton themselves. The other day I made this mistake and turned around to find Luke filling each space in the egg carton with green paint. Way more than they would use at the time as well as no room for any other colors.
- Always use an old shirt or paint smock as there is bound to be paint everywhere including the children. You do run the risk of the children becoming painted themselves as Luke and Chloe decided to purposely paint their bodies as well as making their pictures.
- Put out a small cup of water for color changes for their brush. Only use a small bit of water though as this can get water everywhere as they are learning how to do this.
- Set some guidlelines for them, where to put the paint, how to dip your brush to change colors, etc. Simple and few guidelines for small children, more with older children if needed.
- Be patient. Take the time to show your children what to do and how to do it; but don’t insist they do it exactly the way you want or envision it. My vision of what the apple stamp pictures would look like was very different than what they ended up with. And it was ok, they tried it and then branched out and created from there. They took what they needed out of it and had fun.