How To Teach Painting To ToddlersPainting is a wonderful way for children to express themselves, but they need to show respect for both the adults and the art materials.
First, we need an agreement that the child is willing to make an effort towards the process of learning. In this case, it is a social exercise as well as an educational one.

For example: when a keen three-year-old demands, “I want to paint, I want to paint!”, it can turn into a haphazard messy, short spurt where the child tires quickly and nothing is achieved.

If the parent prepares the material and directs the session in the right way, this provides an atmosphere where the child gains great satisfaction and the activity strengthens his character at the same time.

If this is his first time you can invite him by saying “Would you like me to show you how to do painting?”.
If he has painted before say, “Remember I have shown you how to do painting.”
There should be a mutual understanding that a demonstration is necessary before you allow him to use the paints.

You can say, “If you want to paint, can you go and get your apron?”.
And “Do you know where the paper is?”.
There has to be some effort on the child’s part.
“This is how we peg the paper on the easel”. Then let him attach the paper himself.

When he begins he usually has in mind exactly what he wants to do and is free to work at it for as long as he likes. There is no interference in his actual painting, but the teacher takes certain steps.

There are many ways a parent can help this creative activity, but a careless remark, undeserved praise or thoughtless word or action can destroy his confidence.

Freedom of expression is important, so it is vital not to give  instructions about what colours to use or how to draw the shapes. The paint itself and the process will be natural teachers.

How to introduce toddlers to painting.

How to Set up an art space –

  • large sheets of paper
  • Wall or easel
  • Tape or pegs to attach paper
  • Paint pots in a secure holder
  • Long handled brushes
  • Paint rags or sponge
  • Paint apron
  • Start with the three primary colours – red, blue and yellow.

The paper should be well lit. The light should ideally come from behind the artist and shine over the shoulder onto the paper.

The paint pots should not stand directly under the easel but to one side. That is the right side for right-handed children.

Always test the set up and use the brushes and paint to make sure the paint flows easily onto the paper.

First timers will inevitably place one colour over the other. Allow this in this first stage of artistic development, as they enjoy the manipulative aspects of moving paint around.

The first thing they grasp is how to apply the paint and place brushes back in the paint pots. Also, they learn  how to deal with excess paint.
The next thing they notice is the possibility of different brush strokes by experimenting how to apply the paint with a brush.

Sometimes the young artist may abandon the brush and move the paint that is already on the paper with his hands. Allow this to happen and simply wash hands after he shows that he is satisfied with the session.

Here is a short video of my granddaughter Jasmine painting.


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