Even the littlest kid can move a brush around on paper! Use watercolor paper, watercolor paints, and a wide brush. If your child is like mine, they’ll love to mix colors together until everything is brown… an easy fix is to give them color choices that mix well together. It can also be helpful to paint one color at a time, letting the paint dry in before painting the next color.
-Matte one (or more) of your child’s paintings and hang it up in their room (or anywhere in your house!). You can even have them paint in colors that compliment the colors in their bedroom.
-Matte/ frame a painting and give it as a gift
–Watercolors are a great way to learn about and discover how colors mix together to make other colors. Use two primary colors to create a painting that has both colors, as well as the secondary color created when they overlap.
Make your own stamps out of potatoes! You’ve got a couple options for how to do this. The easiest way is to use small cookie cutters (think Christmas cookies). You cut the potato in half, then press a cookie cutter down into the potato, as far as it will go. Use a knife to cut away all the potato around the cookie cutter (leave the cookie cutter in the potato until you’re done). When you’ve sliced away all the excess, pull the cookie cutter out, and you’ll have your stamp!
The harder way to do it is to cut a shape into the potato. Use a knife with a pointy tip, and use the tip to draw the shape. Next, cut the shape into the potato using only the tip of the knife, by pushing the tip in and out. Cut at least a 1/4 inch down, and a little deeper if you can. Once your shape is outlined, carefully cut away the excess potato from around your shape. This method allows for unique shapes that you don’t have in cookie cutter form.
Once your potato stamp is finished, you can either use a brush to put the paint onto the stamp, or you can squeeze some paint onto a flat surface and press the stamp in (the way you would press a real stamp into an ink pad). Now you’re ready to stamp!
-Use your stamps to make cards (we made the ones above for valentine cards)
-Make letter stamps, number stamps, or shape stamps to practice recognition skills
-Practice color recognition by using shades of one color in your stamp picture
Time to think outside of the box! With your kiddo, find a few toys of theirs that you can use instead of a paintbrush. Play kitchen toys work great. Plastic knives can become palette knives, cups become circle stamps, etc…
Kids LOVE being allowed to use things for what they’re not supposed to be used for, so fun is a guarantee on this one. Encourage your kiddo to play around with how they can paint different ways with each object (i.e. thin lines, wide lines, etc…)
If you want to practice shapes, the plastic shape sorter toys work great as shape stamps!! You can also work on color recognition by doing the whole painting in shades of one color.
Have your kiddo trace shapes (help them if you need to) and cut them out. On a separate piece of paper, have them make sea and sky (use paint, chalk, crayon, etc…), and some cotton clouds if you’d like. Then they’re ready to glue the shapes on to make their sailboat!
Use this craft to build shape recognition, as well as color recognition.
A classic! Just place the object under the paper and color over it. Experiment with all sorts of textures and objects.
Tape the corners of the paper down so that it doesn’t move around as your kiddo colors.
-Make a portfolio or book of crayon rubs that shows different textures, with a word below each picture to describe the texture
Another super simple project! Have your kiddo paint with watercolor on watercolor paper. The more evenly it’s painted, the better it will work.
Then take your painting out into the rain and lay it flat (on something dry, so that it doesn’t soak up water from underneath) for a little while. The rain will create a painting of it’s own!
You can experiment with this project– leave it in the rain for longer or shorter lengths of time, let it dry first before taking it out into the rain, or let the rain fall on it while it’s still wet. Try mixing colors.
If it’s not raining out, you can have your kiddo make rain by dripping drops of water onto the paint.
Helpful hint: After your rain painting has dried, lay it under something heavy, like a big book, so that the paper will flatten out.
-Matte a rain painting and give it as a gift
–Make a matte out of the rain painting (cut a rectangle slightly smaller than a photo out of the center of the painting). If you make it the right size, it will fit into a frame.
-Cut shapes out to make into cards for people
–Cut letters, numbers or shapes out to use as learning tools (you can use them like flash cards or put the on the wall for recognition skills)
Super simple project! Kids learn best when they’re part of the learning process, so let them create their own color palette to learn from. Have them paint a different color on small, separate white pieces of paper. If you want, you can glue (or use photo stick squares) the colors onto a black background and then cut them out, to give them a border.
Put them on the wall or use them as flashcards to help your kiddo learn their colors.
-Have your kid create two cards per color, and use them as a matching game. Be sure to put a black backing on the cards so that the colors don’t show though.