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Getting that Paint on the Paper

Jane Tyson
Painting tools found in a kitchen.

I read a meme on Facebook the other day that said something like creativity isn't taught, it's encouraged. Left to their own devices, children are very creative. Probably sometimes in ways we don't approve of. But today I am talking more about creativity in painting. This is one of my passions. In many ways I am stuck in that proverbial box but not so with painting tools. And today I wanted to share some ideas of new and different ways to get that paint on the paper.

Today you can go into an arts and crafts store and find paint brushes of varying sizes, letter shaped sponges, bingo dot markers, etc. While not bad in themselves, they are very limiting. Instead, I encourage you to go to your kitchen and see what you can find. In just a quick look through my drawers this morning, I found a small whisk, a potato masher, some string, a few wine corks, a dish brush, and a fork. Each of these can be used to paint with and each of them will give a new and unique shape or stroke to your child's art work. 

But don't stop there, you can make your own painting tools. Got a pencil? Take some of that string and make a mini broom type brush. I call them Cinderella brushes. Got some balloons left over from a party? Tape them, uninflated, to that pencil for a different kind of brush. Do the same thing with rubber bands. Do you have an evergreen tree in your yard? Cut off small (2 to 3" piences) of the branch tips. Wrap some masking or duct tape around the cut end to give it a handle and you have another brush. When those dandelions start blooming, pick a few to paint with. You can also try painting with other flowers such as a daisy or a marigold. Does your child have one of those porcupine balls (you know, the ones with the little pieces sticking out all over) or maybe some small bouncy balls? Grab an old shirt box, cut a piece of paper to fit, roll the ball in paint and then let your child roll the ball around inside the box. Take that above mentioned string, cut an 18" piece and dip it in paint. Place it inside a folded piece of paper in an "S" type shape and then holding the paper down, have your child slowly pull the string out. 

I hope you can see how passionate I am about getting that paint on the paper. There are many more ideas. I'm confident a quick Pinterest search will turn up more new ones for you to explore. And be sure to follow your child's lead if he or she has a different idea of how to use a tool. 

Exposing your child to a variety of ways to get that paint on the paper will encourage their creativity. I like to think of it as a starting point for their out of the box thinking. Opening up the options will pay off with big dividends as they grow and explore new areas of learning.

I'd love to hear what new ideas you try with your children and see what they have created. Go...