We have found a few tricks to making the use of water colors less messy even with a preschool child! Anytime I ask Lil’ Red if he wants to paint or do art he always answered YES and wants to water color. I realize that many families hate art and since projects for the mess they can make but I am that crazy mom who gives her child a crayon as soon as they can grasp it! I also allow my children to use scissors at an early age sometimes as early as 18-24 months but completely supervised and with mom’s assistance. All art supplies are kept up out of reach and can only be used when mom approves until age 3 or older.
How do we manage to allow our preschool to water color and keep my sanity? Well that’s exactly what I will share with you today! Here are my 5 tips for Making Water coloring LESS Messy.
Provide a Large Area to Work
First clear off a nice space at the table so the child has room to work. Next cover the area with brown paper or packaging paper like we often get from Amazon orders, lol. These two steps will provide a designated area for the child to work and the brown under paper will help soak up extra water.
Quality Watercolor Paper
Oh, boy have we made the mistake of using regular sketch paper or drawing paper. Water color paper is usually much thicker and has a texture that grabs the paint. Prices range for a pad of paper but many brands make a children’s version of watercolor tablets which are much cheaper.
Wake up the Colors
When a child is first introduced to water coloring I show them how to wake up the colors by placing 1 drop of water in each color well. This allows the child to become less frustrated when they go to use a color since each color will be ready to use. The best thing for this is a set of water color brushes that hold water which allows a single drop of water to be squeezed out of the tip. These types of brushes also allow water coloring to be portable and offers less chance of spills.
Use Old Water Colors
Another item we have lots of is cheap water color palettes from previous children or back to school sales. When a child is first learning to use water colors we have found it best to use old items until he is ready to graduate to a new set of paints. We also do not use the super moist paint sets as those tend to be a whole lots stickier then the average water color paint set.
Ditch the Paint for Pencils and Crayons
Did you know that you can buy water color pencils and water color crayons? Both of these products work wonderfully with the watercolor brushes mentioned above. These items are usually used dry onto paper and then gone over with the watercolor brush. Super easy to transport for vacation, art class with friends or nature study once placed in a large pencil pouch. We personally own a tin of water color crayons and a tin of watercolor pencils which snap tight so no fear of losing them!