My 4 year old daughter Phoebe loves art and in particular, painting, ever since she was introduced to holding a brush but I hate the mess! Here are my tips for avoiding some of the mess and as an added bonus to save a bit of money too. Also what do you do with the results? Frame them for posterity? Recycle? Put away in a drawer? I’ve come up with some solutions to the problem.
- Use a cheap wipe clean tablecloth (I got mine from Aldi) on a table or the floor to minimise the possibility of paint getting anywhere and tell them not to move off it (supervision may be required depending on age, Phoebe is 4 so she’s getting better at understanding rules!)
- Buy the big bottles of paint in various colours and then squidge out a tiny bit for painting each time because they invariably get bored and want to move on to the next thing – there’s nothing worse than loads of effort getting everything out for one activity, they do it for 5 minutes and then they move on to the next thing!
- Use a plastic cupcake tray as a painting tray – easy, cheap, re-useable and you get to eat cupcakes – win/win. You could also use paper or polystyrene cups, or a large (old) plate, old egg boxes – the paints wash off if they’re children’s poster paints and are waterproof.
- Some sort of painting apron – the best thing is an old shirt of yours or the man’s with the sleeves cut down and worn back to front
- Don’t get too hung up on them creating perfect art works – most children just love practising and playing with the brushes, Phoebe loves smooshing the paint around and mixing the colours up!
- When they’re done just throw the tray or cups away or wash and re-use, bung the shirt in the wash, chuck away (!), frame or pin up their art, wipe clean the tablecloth and you’re done!
Here’s some good ideas I’ve come across of how to display their best efforts
Slot the artwork in and out with this interchangeable frame.
Keep the paintings safe on the fridge with these colourful magnetic frames.
- Photograph the pictures or craft work and it’s saved for posterity!
- Give them a box file and they can keep what they want in their room.
I hope this has given you some inspiration and help when it comes to getting through the early art years, I know they grow so quick and one day I’ll miss those days of finding pom-poms and glitter in far flung places!