As in, painting with a toddler. Not painting your toddler, though that could be it’s own kind of funny thing.

Having always had a love for artistic things, but not being very artistic myself, whenever I would go to craft stores I would pine away as I looked at the beautiful piles and piles of blank canvas. I wish I could paint, but even somehow my attempts at modern art look a little too modern for me. Having a little dude has given me the perfect opportunity to buy and use canvas!

Our first foray into painting was before Christmas time. I wanted to give some Levi-made paintings as gifts to family members, and he LOVED doing it. We’ve worked on a couple other things since then, and I thought I’d take some time to share with you some tips and tricks I learned for painting with your toddler!

1. Use non-toxic paint. Obviously. Trust me, it will be tasted.


2. Use a smock or consider painting in the bathtub or with the bathtub very close by. I used one of my old button down shirts, buttoned in the back with the sleeves rolled up. Here he is, all ready to paint.



3. Have multiple brushes available. I bought a set of brushes that has big brushes, tiny ones, spongy ones and bristly ones. He wants to use them all and it keeps him interested in the activity.



4. Turn the canvas or paper. They won’t know that they’ve glommed on way more paint than needed, so every minute or two, turn the canvas (or paper or whatever you’re using), so they have a new place to paint.

5. Use one color at a time. Depending on the kind of art you want to help your child make and depending on your level of insanity (for example, I wanted something with the colors of Levi’s room without all the colors running together and I have a high level of insanity), work with one color, let it dry, then go on to the next color. Here you can see we worked with gray earlier, let it dry and then worked with orange. You will have to clean up more times, but your painting will look a little nicer.


6. When painting time is over CLEAN THE HANDS FIRST. This is not a joke. Levi had paint on his face and I wanted to get it off first. So I scrubbed him clean and as soon as I pulled the washcloth away, he slapped both of his hands on his face and all through his hair. Also, he tried to lick the paint off his hands, so that was fun.

7. Probably the most important piece of advice I can impart is this: REMAIN CALM. It’s going to get messy. If you can’t deal with mess, do not try to paint with your child. The more upset or anxious you get, the messier it’s going to be. For example, Levi was painting on the counter top instead of the canvas. It’s easily washable paint, but when I tried to correct him, he went ahead and threw the brush and paint got all over my carpet, which is not as easy to clean.

This is Levi’s final work of art, now hanging in his room!


If you’re interested in other tips for artistic endeavors with your littles, check out this great post (and really just check out the whole blog in general, as it is magnificent). Happy Wednesday all!

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