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How to make painting with toddlers successful!

How to make painting with toddlers successful!

If you have kids or know little kids, there is one thing that seems to always be true - they all love to paint. Paint is one of those toys that enables kids to use their imagination and creativity. The American Academy of Pediatrics said in a recent post that we should “choose toys that are not overstimulating and encourage children to use their imaginations.” Let us put down the devices and and pick up a paint brush.

But I know painting with toddlers can be stressful. Will the child even enjoy themselves? Will you enjoy yourself? They answer can actually be “YES.” I found that it starts with having a plan to make it fun for both child and parent.

Decide on Where You Will Paint

Pick a place you can both sit down and paint. It can be somewhere inside or an outside spot. By deciding a place to paint, it gives you a chance to plan out what it place will look like. I choose the dining room table and put Stanley in his Keekaroo chair that he eats in. Being in his chair allows him to be buckled in, and he cannot run around with paint all over him.

Put Your Paint Supplies Together…Before You Paint


If you can do a little bit of prep beforehand and have your supplies ready to go, your child is not waiting around and getting into things. I have a plastic container to keep all of our basic supplies in. (Supply list below in post with links). Since we tend to paint inside, I take a big, clean plastic garbage bag and tape it to the table for a work space. I can very quickly lay things out and he can start painting.

Set Your Ground Rules for Painting


While painting can be a very fun, creative activity, it has helped us to set some boundaries for time and how much paint he can use during his craft. I set a time limit, about 20 minutes or him finishing his craft. If he is just painting on paper, I allow for one refill of each paint color. I usually give him 3-4 colors to use. (Sometimes we paint objects like rocks and sticks, then I use the number of items to paint as the limit). I like to put in primary colors so he can mix them and talk about how it makes a new color. Science rocks! I have Stanley wear his paint smock if he is outside and if not I roll up his sleeves.

Keep Calm and Paint On

Let your child paint as he wants to. Stanley has painted paper, rocks, egg crates, sticks and other figures. Be ready for them to enjoy the fun! For us, we like to keep the time as open play.

Toddler Painting Supply list:

Crayola Washable Kids paint

Melissa and Doug paint brushes

Art Smock

Paint tray for kids

Painters Tape 

Feel Free to Start Small

Here is a link for a simple kids paint set from Crayola to get you started if you wanted to start small. Starting small is a great idea. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

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