“Fingerpaint! Fingerpaint! Fingerpaint!” Jane screams whenever she gets the slightest hint that the brushes and paints are coming out. Her enthusiasm is dead on: painting is really that much fun. It’s quite therapeutic and relaxing after a long day at work and an equally great way to jumpstart your morning. You have to be willing to get messy, of course, but therein lies the fun.
We started out with finger paint on glossy paper a few months ago and just started on poster paint with a brush.
The Melissa & Doug fingerpaint in bright primary colors were great for our initial foray into fingerpainting because it washes off little hands and clothing very easily. But, it turned out to be way too goopy and not a good consistency for use with a paintbrush once we were ready for our first brushstrokes.
Before hitting the brushes, I decided to splurge on an easel in the face of Hubby’s, “Do we really need an easel? What’s wrong with paint and paper on a table top? I never had an easel as a kid. More kidstuff cluttering up the house?“. Hubby now sees the error of his comments. Simply put, the easel rocks.
We settled on the Melissa & Doug easel after searching a lot of online reviews and hitting up our mommy friends for recommendations. By virtue of the brand’s popularity, I was semi-decided against it, thinking it might be gimmicky and overpriced, but actually it has been one of our best toddler purchases so far.
Amazon has the best deal and if you want to see it in person, check it out at Diddams. The design is sleek and simple, with a chalkboard side and a whiteboard side. A paper roll sits in between the two boards and feeds through onto the whiteboard side. (Theoretically you could hang the paper down the chalkboard side as well with two of the four clips that come with the easel for just that purpose). There’s room for chalk on one side and crayons on the other, in addition to four paint cup holders. You can also purchase the Accessory Kit, which was worth it at the Amazon bundle price (poster paint, chalkboard/whiteboard eraser/chalk/brushes). The easel is a great learning tool, too: we use it to learn our letters, numbers, colors, shapes and words. And, supposedly it folds up easily, but I can’t comment on that because ours is always out!
After we bought the easel, we graduated from fingerpaint to poster paint with a brush and it’s an absolute blast! (I purchased a Crayola art smock at Toy R’ Us, but that was a waste of money since the paint ends up everywhere anyway. The old t-shirt method is much better – and cheaper).
If your toddler is just getting used to the brush, start him/her with simply dipping the brush in the paint and smashing it onto the paper. A few minutes into our first time, Jane was already making squiggly lines, and by the third or fourth time, she was onto circles and straight lines. Here’s one of her masterpieces:
Another great idea for paint is making homemade wrapping paper, which I blog about here. Happy painting!