Simple, Creative Painting Projects for Kids

Simple, Creative Painting Projects for Kids

When it comes to art, my boys couldn’t be more different. Big has no interest in sitting down to draw. Little can’t get enough of it and feels every surface is a canvas (which makes me ever-so-grateful for washable crayons/markers/paint). I did notice about a year ago, if we turn painting into an activity, Big is much more excited about diving in and getting creative. Here are some of our favorite spins on the craft (watch out MOMA):

Art in the Driver’s Seat
Getting Big to paint: difficult. Getting Big to play with Matchbox cars: easy. Combine the two and you’ve got a winner. You can either draw a race track for your kids to paint, cut the paper in the shape of a car or just let them go for it. I always put the paper on a baking sheet so the cars don’t go off-roading.

Flower Fun
Don’t just paint pictures of flowers. Use the flowers as a paint brush. You can give different types of blooms a try, but we’ve found we get the best results with mums. And if the petals come off, we leave them in the paint to give the piece more intrigue and texture. Bonus points: next time you go to a friend’s house, take them some flowers and share this fun activity with their family.

Everyday Inspiration
Wine corks (yes, this is an everyday object in my house when I’m not pregnant…I have 2 young boys), marbles, kitchen utensils, fly swatters—all of these make really interesting patterns. You can put a bunch of different things out for your kids to explore, or focus a project on one of them. For instance, draw a bunch of flies on a big piece of paper and tell your kids to swat them. Just realize that this clean up may be even messier than if you got the real thing.

Edible Art
Ok, I wouldn’t eat the paper (unless you use a tortilla or piece of bread), but try using different foods as paint. Baby food, pudding, jelly, pasta sauce…anything liquid will do. Fill muffin tins with a variety of foods and have your kids guess what’s in each spot as they paint.

What are your favorite painting projects for kids?


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  1. says

    I am not very artistic, but I used the kids’ handprints to make a Christmas tree on stretched canvas. It has become my favorite holiday decoration. I made one for each set of grandparents as a gift and my mother-in-law liked it so much she keeps it up all year long! There is a picture of the finished product and directions on my blog. I couldn’t figure out how to add a photo here.

  2. Dana says

    What exciting ways to stimulate creative expression and an eye for the objects around you. Do the boys ever make suggestions for the “brushes” you select? It’s wonderful that you draw the reluctant painter in with objects that already interest him. Very clever, Monet Mama!

    • says

      When I’m feeling brave one day soon, I’ll let my little artists choose. But, as you know, I like to have some (ok, most) of the control.

    • says

      Actually, funny you should mention it. Glitter glue used to be the only thing Big would use. It’s much easier to clean than straight up glitter, but going to work with glitter on my face didn’t always flatter me. I think we might need a new set!

  3. Linda says

    Amy….I’ve been meaning to chime in on this for awhile. For years, the kids and I made our own wrapping paper, using a roll of butcher paper from Costco (a must for any type of drawing), sponges cut out into shapes (Christmas, hearts for Val. Day, birthday themes)and dishes of paint in assorted colors. We took up the whole garage and invited their friends to join in. It saved us a lot for the holidays and it was a fun project to boot. As for the handprint project, forming a circle (wreath) with these, then cutting out a paper plate and applying the painted paper to it, adding a bow, makes a nice wreath. Grandparents love it (;-))

    • says

      Ooh, I had no idea Costco sells butcher paper (probably because I never considered it). We did the wrapping paper idea (actually, I hosted it) at my Booze and Glues club back before I had kids, but I can imagine it’s more appropriate and appreciated coming from preschoolers than new career women. Thanks so much for sharing!

      • says

        LOVE that butcher paper idea, Linda! I’m going to have to look for it the next time I’m at Costco :)!

        And Amy – I think I need more info on Booze and Glues… because if it is getting together to do crafts while imbibing cocktails – I think I may need to start a local chapter!!!

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