Realising though my little cherubs are getting older and needing a little extra stimulation in order to prevent boredom, I've recently admitted defeat and am now trying to include more paint time into our stay at home schedule.
In any case, today's painting mission was actually alright. The kids were entertained for a while, they squished paint through their hands, experimented with colour and when I overheard my youngest exclaim how much fun he was having, I knew I'd done the right thing - despite the mild panic attacks I went through!
For future paint sessions, I'll be bearing the following tips in mind to ensure our painting time goes as smoothly (and as cleanly) as possible:
1. Have everything ready - This means getting your paints, paper, several old towels or cloths, smocks, easel, paintbrushes & containers out and ready to go before the kids get started. Find a suitable area in or outside of your house and set everything up there.
2. Cover up - Don't let your kids wear anything you wouldn't want paint to ruin, no matter how 'washable' the paint is supposed to be. If the weather's warm enough, strip your kids off. Otherwise dress them in old clothes or buy some art smocks.
3. Keep it clean - To stop little paint footprints covering your house, have an old towel on the floor ready for the kids to wipe their feet on or catch any spills as they occur. Alternatively, you may like to cover the floor with a cheap, disposable tablecloth that you can pick up for a few dollars in the party section at Spotlight (which I have continued to reuse & even machine wash successfully several times). Keeping an old, damp cloth on stand by is also a great way to wipe down your art easel or other equipment before the paint dries.
4. Paper rolls - The best $10 I have ever spent was on a roll of butcher's paper bought from my local newspaper (also known as an 'end of roll'). Our roll will probably take the whole year to finish, a bargain considering how much we've used in the past two weeks. For your painting session, roll a large sheet of the paper onto the floor or cut into appropiate sized sheets. Whatever works for you.
5. Set a limit - Unless you want all your paint & paper
5. Add in some learning - No doubt, learning works best when it's hands on and fun! Draw some shapes, letters, numbers or animals onto one of your child's sheets of paper and get them to paint it in. Don't forget to let your kids have some freestyle painting fun while they're at it!
6. Use little paintbrushes - At first, I was cursing the fact I only had little paint brushes, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The smaller brushes worked out easier for the kids to hold, gave them greater control and significantly reduced the amount of excess paint dripping onto the floor. Not to mention, you'll get a few extra minutes out of the activity since the little brushes take them a little longer to paint with :P
7. All over, red rover - When the kids are finished (or bored with painting), use an old cloth to wipe off any paint from their hands and arms before you march them towards the bathroom. Better yet, clean them outside under the hose with a towel or two you've set aside for cleaning and drying your child. If using the bathroom to wash up, place a hand towel over the basin so that it hangs down over your cupboards to catch any paint transferred from your child's clothes. Carefully remove their painting clothes/smock and throw them into the washing machine immediately along with any other towels, cloths, etc used during your painting time. Use your old cloths to wipe any equipment down as well removing any paint from your brushes.
So my next step here will be purchasing some proper paints and accessories to make paint time a little more exciting for the kids. And slowly, but surely I will be relaxing in the fact that I am embracing messy activities into our lives!
P.S. Have you got any painting tips that work for you? Any paint activities your kids love doing?