Painting for developing minds and bodies

Painting is a great way to let your child experiment with expression and communicating ideas visually, while developing important motor skills.

Children can experiment with colour, line, shape, textures and patterns to express their ideas, feelings and experiences. By encouraging your child to talk about their painting and the painting process, you can help them to establish links between visual art and self-expression.

Experimenting with various tools also helps develop muscle control in hands, arms and fingers, which is important in early development.

Starting a painting project

What you need:

  • paper of different sizes
  • paint (can be homemade or bought – DIY paint recipe here)
  • brushes of different sizes, shapes and textures (you can also include sponges, paddle pop sticks for scraping, or encourage your child to use their fingers to finger paint)
  • tools to use with paint (eye droppers, cotton buds, marbles, feathers)
  • squeeze bottles or plastic containers for paint or water and a palette for mixing paint
  • an old shirt or apron for your child to use as a painting smock.

Set up an area with a drop sheet (you can use newspaper sheets or a plastic table cloth) to designate a painting zone and protect the floor from messy painting materials. You can create an easel by threading string through a piece of cardboard and tying it to a fence or onto a large box.

  • Involve your child in setting up the materials, using boxes or containers to store tools and materials so they are easy to reach and can be easily packed away.
  • Provide water and cloths for cleaning brushes and hands along the way and when they finish.
  • Encouraging your child to take responsibility for storing and packing up their equipment is another important learning experience.

While you might need to demonstrate how to use some materials to begin with, allowing your child the freedom to explore and experiment with materials can foster creativity and show respect for them and what they can do.

Image Young child focuses on her painting project

Published — 30 August 2016 Last updated — 04 November 2016