Activity: How do you teach painting?
- Poster or powder paint, liquid starch (for use with powder paint for finger painting), plastic sheet or large plastic garbage bag, butcher paper
- 45 minutes
- Creative expression, art & design
The emphatic answer is don't.
When young children paint, they express how they feel and do not necessarily depict particular objects. What is important is the act of painting, not the finished product.
When your child shows you her work, and it looks like random splotches to you, refrain from asking, What is it? or What does it mean? Allow your child’s imagination free rein and don't steer her. Provide her with materials and opportunities to paint.
To get started, here are a few practical tips:
- Cover your child's work area with a large sheet of plastic.
- Supply poster or powder paint in small amounts. (Powder paint is cheaper. Mix it with water until the paint is the consistency of heavy cream. For finger paints, mix the powder paint with liquid starch instead of water.)
- Use large size brushes that encourage free, broad brushstrokes.
- Make sure that your child realizes that there is no one right way to paint, and that she can use her fingers as well as her brushes.
The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola (Putnam Juvenile, 1997)
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