AN INVITATION TO PAINT WITH KIDS
AN INVITATION TO PAINT
This after school invitation takes very few supplies and not a whole lot of effort to set up, but it packs a punch for the children who engage with it. Want the details? Read on.
THE SET UP:
Washable paint squirted into recycled jars
A large bowl (for tracing)
A sturdy marker
HOW TO SET UP YOUR INVITATION TO PAINT:
Roll out your paper and tape it down to the table. We use our Ikea dining room table so I am not too worried about wear and tear. This paper rarely leaks through, but if you are worried about your nice table, lay dow a clear shower curtain liner under the paper. This will protect your table from spills and leaks and you can easily wipe it down when finished.
Once my paper was spread out, I simply traced an upside down serving bowl to make lots of circles on the table. Why? I just wanted to switch up the canvas that the children were engaging with. Sometimes, a large blank sheet can feel intimidating. The circles offer children a place to start small and then branch out. They also keep the invitation to create completely open ended, meaning the children can take it in any direction they want to.
I poured washable paint into recycled jars ( You can also use an old egg carton or recycled yogurt cups.) and then added white to each jar. Why? it softens the pallet and looks so beautiful. You absolutely do not need to do this, but I enjoy color mixing and so I did. Looking for more tips on choosing paint pallets? Check out THIS book by my friend Bar Rucci.
The key to this set up is really the large mural paper and the circles. You could easily adapt this activity with crayons or markers instead of paint. I have used this on a smaller scale at large gatherings with crayons and children and adults both love to jump in.
Having a collaborative, simple, open ended art invitation is a fantastic way to help your children relax after a long school day.
TIP: Switch out paint for colored pencils or markers and this is a great ice breaker at social gatherings, as well as a way to keep little hands and minds occupied at big family dinners.
WAYS TO ADAPT THIS INVITATION TO PAINT
You could even set this up rolled on the floor for the toddler set. They only need one color of paint because it will really be a sensory experience for them- expect a mess.
Another way to do this activity is by taping the paper up to the wall and offering paint sticks, which are less messy than liquid paint. Working on a vertical surface is a great way to strengthen hands and arms and it also promotes visual attention.
Having a collaborative, simple, open ended art invitation is a fantastic way to help your children relax after a long school day. However you set it up, and with whichever medium you feel most comfortable, know that you are offering your child a chance to create and explore without instructions. You are offering her a chance to let her guard down and to let the mind wander. Often, this results in a flowing conversation. I learn more about my children and the day they’ve had when I put out an invitation to create. They get nice and relaxed and open right up.
Lots of people email me to ask how the paint stays mostly contained on the table. They want to know why there are not paint spills everywhere and handprints all over my walls.
My children have been working with paint all of their lives. They have moved through the need to get paint everywhere and all over themselves.
We have limits about painting indoors. Sometimes, I allow a huge mess and sensory experience. When I know my children need that kind of work, I am prepared with drop cloths and rags ( SEE THIS POST.) And sometimes, I don’t want the mess. For example, the other day when the girls started putting their hands in the paint, I invited them to use shaving cream in a sensory bin instead.
Creativity can be messy. I embrace that.