A rainy day is a perfect complement to a morning of watercolors. Toddlers, Twos and Threes made the best of the wet outdoors by bringing the water inside, to colorful results! What’s more, this is the type of easy painting that can have every child producing beautiful works of art. All it takes is water, paint, brushes, paper (the heavier, the better), and some form of table covering.
At PTLL, we use liquid watercolors, which are not only easier to use for young children, but also produce brighter results. With watercolors, the color is key. The more water on the page, the less vibrant the color will be, but it will also be more fluid and blend with other colors easier. Consider these factors when mixing the paints for your children to use. With liquid watercolors, you can also change the process completely by letting your children use the paint without water, then adding water either via brush or by spray bottle. There are hundreds of application variations, so feel free to explore and experiment!
More fun with applications: You don’t have the kind of printing freedom you might with more solid paints, but there are still lots of options. Brushes are a good go-to for starting your children on watercolor painting, but don’t forget about spray bottles, eye droppers, and even thin cloths like nylon, cheesecloth, and silk scraps. The liquid watercolors even work on light colored thin cloths, so if your kids are tired of paper, experiment with surfaces that could also be used as decorative hangings, present wrapping, or ribbons.
Very small children and cups of water-based paint might not mix problem-free, so lay plenty of newspaper or other absorbent materials on work surfaces and have paper or cloth towels handy for potential spills. Need a creative (and eco-friendly) solution? Scrap paper soaked in spilled watercolors makes an excellent addition to collage materials. Same thing goes for watercolor-stained newsprint.
As we have done with fingerpainting, we also decided to set out a larger canvas for collaboration. It’s super fun to start with a large blank piece of paper and watch as several hands transform it. The simplest blotches and lines gradually turn into layer upon layer of creative work. From the beginning of the paper, pictured above, to its end form:
What a fantastic result! Can’t find room for all those large canvases? Cut up old ones into smaller panels or use them as scraps for the collage materials bins. Reusing old work in a creative way can be as fun as producing the work in the first place.
Need some additional watercoloring ideas for your children? Check out this great video below from The Artistic Mom:
Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.