Isn’t Painting just great fun?!

Painting is one of the most classic preschool activities and for good reason; children LOVE to paint and it’s a great way to learn and develop coordination and creativity.

Here are some ideas for you on how I like to set up an area for painting:

  1. It’s good to change the setup once in a while; for example, placing the paper vertically on an easel or flat on a table to give a different perspective. The children can also undertake the activity inside or outside; this adds another element to the experience for them.
  2. Painting aprons – have them available! Be aware of parents sending children to preschool in good clothes – it’s best if the children are not worried about getting paint on them.
  3. I always found it appealing to have 2 easels side-by-side; this creates a social activity for the children.
  4. If you are using a particularly runny paint, you may need to protect the floor with some kind of covering (e.g. a newspaper). Here’s a tip: if you put the whole newspaper down, you can remove pages as they get covered and then continue with the fresh paper underneath!
  5. It’s good to start with 3 primary colors, one color per pot; that way, the children can create their own colors on the paper as they go. Always ensure you have a pot of clean water for children to wash brushes; they get dirty very quickly!
  6. Encourage respect for the next painter – don’t mix up the colors in the pot – ask the children: do you think the next child will want to use that color?
  7. Sustainability can be reinforced through painting – for example, the next day the child can paint on the other side of the painting (unless it’s going on the wall) and if you hang it as a mobile, both sides will be visible.
  8. Good quality paper is important – using good quality stock shows the children what they’re doing is worthwhile; they take those cues very seriously and they will value the painting more if they think their work is important to you.
  9. Write names on the paper beforehand so they don’t get mixed up at the end. Write on the back if they’re in the early exploratory stage where they cover the whole paper, but if they’re in the representational stage (when, for example, a dog looks like a dog) they will not cover their name with paint so it can be written in the corner.
  10. On that, write the name on the left hand side – this is a way to introduce pre-reading concepts!