Painting for kids can be so much fun and it looks different at each age. Here is how to do art at home with easy painting activities for kids.
I believe that art truly helped shape my relationship with each of my children and helped me recognize what type of mother I wanted to be. Art helped me tap into a different area of my brain and in turn, glide my way into different areas of my children’s brains too, all through this beautiful feeling called LOVE.
The creative side of my children is infused with love. Like the glue that we place on paper collages to make them stick to the paper, the moments I spend doing art with my children re-inforces that glue, add more stickiness to it and creates a memory and bond so incredibly strong.
As mom’s… I know we want to spend time with our children but we often lack ideas on ideas to spend fun time together. These activities include easy painting ideas for kids that mom can join in and do too.
Art made us SEE more.
I see different areas of speech in my children through art, I see new smiles, I see new looks in their eyes as they adventure through different material with curious eyes and exploring fingers. I see the body that snuggles themselves a little closer to me while they create and I see the child who from the age of 18 months would come to me and say, “Mama what actitity do you have for me today?”
Art is a way I show my children love. Yes, I hug them 1,000,001 times a day and endlessly tell them how much I love them… but the time I spend with them through creation, through exploration, through imagination is also a way to love on them too.
Art has made ME a better mother. Each stroke of paint that my child puts on paper, each time they look me in the eyes with that beautiful adoration gives me patience throughout the rest of the day. It makes me push on when I feel overwhelmed. It makes me feel like a really great mother.
— Superman (@SupermanTweets) May 11, 2014
Art at 1, 2, 3 and all the way to 12 years old looks completely different. Today I am going to focus on what art looks like with a younger child. I might even create a little mini-series about art at home with children, if there is interest.
Art supplies for kids:
Before we get started, one question I get asked a lot is about art supplies. I have a post all about my Favorite Art Supplies For Kids. For children who are not going to eat the paint, I suggest you purchase washable tempera paints, some chubby brushes (for the younger kids ages 1-3) and an art apron.
Besides paint, I keep most of my art supplies in my art cart. It also functions like our homework station. That includes crayons, markers, glue, glue sticks and more. I use card stock paper too for smaller drawings and paintings.
Painting For Kids
What art with babies and 1 year olds looks like:
Art with a child who still puts everything in their mouth, especially those under 2 should include as many edible or rather, taste safe, ingredients as possible.
Children explore through taste so it is very normal for them to want to put things in their mouth.
I began doing art with my first child at a mom and child play group. The bug caught me because from this moment, when I saw my son’s smile and laughter… art took hold of me and has not let me go.. it is what inspired Fun With Mama to eventually come into the world. Painting for kids turned into painting for mom too!
My first child was 9 months old in this picture. He LOVED painting.. but what did painting look like with him at 9 months old? It looked like a bit of mom helping him hold the stamps and showing him how to stamp. He didn’t have complete control of his movements yet, but with some guidance he could explore too.
It also meant a lot of me having to stop him constantly trying to taste the paint.. At this age, I highly recommend using taste safe paint so that your child can explore freely. Check out this DIY Finger Paint recipe that is taste safe.
At this age children love stamps.. They also love to play with stickers.They can create pictures with stickers.. they can paint and add stickers to their paintings, etc.
We also did color collages at this age. We would look through magazines for pictures of items in our focus color and then my almost 2 year old would glue it on. Glue sticks are easier to use than liquid glue. You can also get the purple glue sticks so children can see where they are putting the glue.
I recommend simple activities like below for this age group:
Or you can try some mess free painting
At the age of 1 -4 I highly recommend doing open ended art. I purchased this art book online (mine was the first edition) and it included A LOT of easy art activities for toddlers and two year olds.
The only thing the book lacked though is pictures. I like to see pictures of the process. That is why you will see that a lot of my early art activities on the blog were inspired by MaryAnn Kohl and this time, they included my own pictures.
MaryAnn Kohl taught me that:
Art is about the process and not the product. – MaryAnn Kohl
What does this mean? It means that a child at this age is more interested in the process of art.. of the use of materials and paint. They want to feel and smell the paint. Stimulate their senses. They are not really concerned about what their final picture looks like.
Art at 2-3 years old is more about the process. This is my favorite age to work with children through art. They are so eager to create and explore that it is so inspiring to watch! You can literally put anything in front of them and it turns into a creative art activity.
They like to feel the brush strokes on the paper and look at the mixture of colors.
Finger painting is always a win at this age and using unique materials to create art.
Read the benefits of fingerpainting to learn more about why you should encourage fingerpainting.
If you want something a little more guided and mess free you can try out these do a dot art hearts… they are great for visual perception and fine motor skills and the dot markers are so easy to use.
This Happy/Sad pumpkin activity was a fun activity because it encouraged conversations about happy and sad.. how do you know when someone is happy? How do you know when someone is sad? What does that look like? It also allowed for finger painting and that sensory input that comes from feeling the paint within your fingers. I used edible paint here.
Another thing that I do A LOT with my 5 year old is I pull out pages from one of her coloring book. This is my favorite book to do this with because it includes MUCH thicker pages. I then add watercolors or a little paint palette, a cup filled with water and I place it on a tray or mat. This is the EASIEST activity and I swear, my daughter loves it SO much.
Around Age 7/8 this is what art starts to look like:
It’s more planned and care is given to the end product.
Now that my children are older we have started doing more structured art activities. I like art lessons. Some people feel like being taught to draw decreases a child’s own creativity, but I am of the opposing thought. I believe that learn to draw books help your child get the confidence to create their own drawings.
You don’t throw someone into a pool when they can’t swim.. but you can help them learn to swim first so if they ever fall in… they know how to come back up.
Since I am not an art teacher nor did I take any form of art in school I signed up for a monthly membership called Deep Space Sparkle. Patty at Deep Space Sparkle also has A LOT of free activities on her blog. We have tried many of them and absolutely love them.
Many of these painting for kids activities and art projects for kids were pretty easy… and they formed a good base for my children to take off from when it came to working through some planned art projects.
Painting For Kids Art Recipes