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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Liebel-Berg

Painting with your Toddler

Winter is a difficult time. The kids rarely get out doors due to the cold. Because of it cabin fever peaks and at some point the kids simply cannot watch one more episode of Paw Patrol. In college I took a watercolor course to supplement my Architecture studies. I loved the fluidity of this medium and its ability to adjust and adapt with a single drop. One afternoon when my son was 18 months old, I took out some of my paints and mixed him up a palate.

Over the next hour he transferred the hues to paper, mixing them together.

Now he frequently paints on the weekends, never for very long, usually a half hour or so.

The point is, he loves it.

Since then he filled all of my designated cold press paper.

He has been painting for three years now and I have made only one trip to the paint store. Why? Because water color pigment when mixed with water, stretches out for a considerable amount of time and surface application. My location of choice is an absolutely lovely local place called Wet Paint on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. In addition to stocking up on paper I have since bought him a little kit to give him a little something different to set his brush to (pictured below).

As a parent, watercolors are ideal. Since they are water based, the pigment washes up off of surfaces easily and rarely stains their clothing. The brush can tumble to the floor, the rinse container can topple over and all can be made right again within minutes.

This evening we discovered that his sister wanted to pick up a brush. It continually fascinates me with the colors they pick and where they choose to direct their brush. It is the most unhindered type of freedom.

Now I have two painters and I realize that I am going to have to be able to have two kits ready to accommodate them both as the process of sharing was a bit of a challenge. To their credit, they did pretty well.

If you would like to give watercolor a try with your kids (of any age), I have included a series of links for supplies to get you started. You can also walk into any craft store and there will be a very helpful art associate who get you on the right path.

Quick Starter Supply List

Watercolor Pad - this is my favorite because it is easy to tear off a page and it comes in a standard size that is easy to frame. The spiral bound leaves a frayed edge that you would need to trim off to frame and they are difficult to tear out, from my experience.

Brushes - currently my kids are using a basic craft brush, but these are the brushes I use.

Paint - this is the watercolor pan set that is shown in the photos above. There are a handful of choices that are higher up on the professional scale, but so far I have loved this set. Less work for me with having to hand mix the pigment and they love the color selection. Once they have used up this kit, we will move onto another. Someday we may need higher quality pigment, but for these afternoon sessions, they have been creating all sorts of creative works.

And, before you go...

Remember to write their name and date on the lower corner of their work in a fine tip black sharpie. You will forget when they painted them if you don't and it serves as a time capsule for their work.

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