You can share the colors of the rainbow with your child by engaging in painting activities. This hands-on activity will enhance color awareness in your child as they actually interact with and create colors. Painting helps young children develop small motor skills by holding and controlling the brush and by dipping it into paint and water. To stimulate their sense of touch, explore different textures with your child by feeling the paintbrush, sponge, or cotton swab used for painting or feeling the different painting surfaces, like paper or cardboard.
Painting is a good activity for any age child because it can be adapted to meet their skill level. Children as young as age 2 can begin to paint, but only under close adult supervision. Painting with water on the sidewalk on a summer day is a no-stress way for a 2-year-old to get started. Watercolors also tend to be less messy and are a good way to begin for the youngest set, but the bold colors of tempera paints are appealing to preschoolers. Be sure to protect clothing, all furniture surfaces, and the floor. Expect to use a lot of paper!
Have your child paint with different colors and see if they can find something of the same color in your home. The focus is on color matching and the process of painting, not on painting a recognizable object.
Four-year-olds and up can start with primary colors and then mix them to make new colors. Add white paint to make pastels.
- Children can paint on old newspapers, cardboard, paper plates, grocery bags, or pieces of paper.
- Sponges, brushes, cotton swabs, and fingers make great painting utensils!
- You can buy paints from the store or make your own. Here are two easy recipes for paints:
Make Your Own Paint
Homemade Watercolor Paint: Mix food coloring with a small amount of water (amount of water will determine brightness of color).
Homemade Finger (or brush) Paint: Dissolve ½ cup cornstarch into 1 cup of cold water. An adult should pour the mixture into 3 cups of boiling water and stir gently until substance is shiny. Add food coloring for color. Wait until paint is completely cool before using.
The Parent-Child Home Program Recommends:
Crayola’s 16 Pan Washable Watercolors- This paint set offers a wide-array of colors for toddlers to experiment with. The paint washes out of clothes and off of hands easily with soap and water. The recommended age for this paint kit is 3 and older with adult supervision.
Crayola No Mess Sponge Painting (Endangered Animals or Garden kits)- Kits come with theme-shaped sponges, 4 bottles of washable paint, paper, and a reusable paint tray. Toddlers can dip soft sponges into paint and make fun shapes on paper, or dip into water and press on to the sidewalk. They can be rinsed out and used again and again. Close adult supervision recommended.
Recommended books and toys are available on our website by clicking on the Amazon.com link: www.parent-child.org
© 2003 The Parent-Child Home Program, Inc.
The Parent-Child Home Program
1415 Kellum Place, Suite 101
Garden City, New York 11530