Tips for painting with Children

Painting with children

Getting your little ones into art is usually not a very difficult task; after all, what child doesn’t love to paint for fun and get creative whilst making a mess for mum or dad?!

If you’ve not really moved onto painting with children but would like to give it a go, we’ve put together a few tips (and creative painting ideas) to (hopefully) help you gain a bit of order so your little Picasso can get arty without you tearing your hair out too much.

Benefits of painting

The benefits of painting is limitless and can really encourage a child to develop multiple skills to help them achieve success in life. Painting allows children to express their creative side and keep an open mind when looking at situations in the world. Painting can also allow children to expand on their imagination and create a world in which only they are a part of. Painting is also a great way to express emotion if kids are unable to vocalise their stress and anxiety. You can learn a lot from a child by what they paint onto paper.

Get all the equipment you need


As with any arty project, there are a few things you’ll need to get started. It’s advisable to start children off with things like acrylic paints, rather than watercolours or oil paints for example. Acrylic is the best paint for kids, as they’re much easier to work with, have brighter colours, and they tend to be a bit cheaper, too. Below is some acrylic paint I found on Amazon.

Invest in a few good kids paint brushes with different thicknesses so your little ones can experiment with different strokes and effects on the page. Teach them how to look after them by washing them thoroughly, drying them slightly with a cloth and then letting them dry naturally. You can get kitted out with all the paints you need and some decent brushes online at sites like Artifolk which is useful.

You also definitely won’t want to forget things like a kid’s artist’s apron (below) to stop their clothes from getting ruined, and things like wipe-able table cloths and sheets to protect your floor, too.

Experiment painting different things

Child painting

Kids love having free reign to paint whatever pops into their imaginations which is of course fantastic, but if you want to give them a bit of guidance and help them develop their skills further, it may be a good idea to give them things to paint. Here are a few easy painting ideas for kids to get involved in now:

Canvas painting for kids

You can come up with all sorts of fun canvas painting ideas for kids. Have a look around the house for some fun things to paint and then set up simple still life drawings. Fruit works really well for example, or head outside and paint nature items. You could even have them paint their siblings to develop not only their skills but their interest in art, too.

Paint by numbers for kids

Paint by numbers are a brilliant way to encourage child painting practice through following a step-by-step plan to achieve a colourful and creative painting afterwards. Kids get a ready to use kit, complete with the colours required for the painting and kids learn as they paint, sticking to the specified colour for each number. Paint by numbers also builds confidence as the finished product almost always looks pretty amazing! But, don’t be upset if they paint outside of the lines – it’s a learning process and one which you should make fun for them to try. Here are some of our favourites that we found on Amazon:

Hand painting for kids

Hand painting is great for much younger kids too and has many developmental, creative and educational benefits. Hand painting encourages fast brain development from a very early age and improves sensory stimulation. Children can also develop fine motor skills and strengthen finger and hand muscles through hand painting, but it‘s important not to focus here on what the finished product looks like, but more on the process of hand painting.

Finger painting ideas

Just like hand painting, finger painting comes with all sorts of educational and creative benefits. Encourage children to experiment with their fingers and use their fingers to develop a painting with lots of colour and texture. For example, they can paint leaves on a tree with their fingers, or create little snowflakes. Finger painting, like hand painting, will help children learn about colour, shape and spatial relationships. So, don’t worry about the mess, just let them play!

Teach them about colours and mixing them

As well as developing their actual painting skills, you could always talk about how certain colours are created by showing them what colours mix with others to make new ones. This will be really useful and it’s something they’ll cover in art class at school as well, so it’d be great to get them started early! I found a great colour wheel below from www.faspaints.com which shows kids the primary colours and how they mix to make new colours.

Colour wheel from www.faspaints.com
Colour wheel from www.faspaints.com

Keep your cool and have fun!

Mother painting with children

Painting with kids can become less relaxing when there’s mess everywhere (we’re sure even Picasso’s mum probably lost her rag at times) but it’s important just to go with it and have fun. There will be a lot of mess, but you could encourage them to help you clean up too to show them it’s all part of the process. Aim to make that part as fun as possible if you can, so tidying up doesn’t become too much of a chore that kids will start to identify with art.

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Leyla Preston (604 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 7. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked!You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/


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