Wile teaching and painting with my son I’ve learned a few thing that really help when you are working with a toddler. If you follow these few steps you can help your toddler create something really wonderful that you will be proud to hang on your fridge.
#1. Protect your Creative Space. This means putting down plastic or newspaper over everything your child may be able to reach with their paintbrush or messy hands. Don’t expect a toddler to keep the paint on the paper or off themselves. Leave your child in just their diaper or put them in some old or already stained clothes. With these precautions in place, you will be ready to really enjoy painting with your child without worrying about colors getting on them or the surrounding area.
#2. Limit the Colors. Most paint sets come with the primary colors which is great but not very practical for toddlers. My little boy tends to just mix all the colors together until they make a strange brown. This is why I choose just a couple colors at a time for him to experiment with. It also helps to choose colors that are close to each other on the color wheel and gold is always a great option to make the painting shine.
#3. Determine when to Stop. My little guy will paint some beautiful abstracts in a few minutes, but he loves playing with paint so much that he will just keep going until all the colors turn into a gray blob. It’s a good idea to watch your toddler paint until it looks good. Then replace their work with another piece of paper and gently take away the painting they were working on.
#4. Provide Quality Materials. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to paint on printer paper and had little bits of it roll up or had it tear all the way through. There is no need to provide professional materials for your toddler, but some watercolor paper or canvass will really make their work look great.
#5. Be encouraging. If you want your toddler to keep creating art, please, offer lots of encouragement. There is nothing that will stifle creativity like criticism from parents. Remember, art should be fun, especially for toddlers!