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Scared of the Messy? How to Make Painting at Home with Young Children Manageable.

Not to judge, but don't be that parent. Don't avoid super fun and engaging activities that can get messy, ESPECIALLY if your child doesnt go to school. Those are some of the best ways to hold your child's attention! Those experiences are enriching for them in so many ways and will help to manage their short attention span. I'm not saying you have to do it all the time or even every day, but try to make them happen.


Painting is one of them. The secret is in being ready with the right materials:

Side note: Your undivided attention to this activity will also help to avoid frustration and tension for you and your child. It's not one they should do independently until they are about 5.

  1. Easel that has a way to hang large paper - I admit, mines a little janky. I use binder clips to hold the paper up and the paper doesnt even sit right when I do that but the big paper makes a huge different for reducing mess.

  2. Large paper - Like extra large, like a whole unfolded newspaper large. As big as you can get onto that easel. Little ones paint with big movements until they are older enough to coordinate small movement. If you want them to full enjoy and engage in the act of painting, little ones need big paper.

  3. Floor covering - You can put paper or garbage bags down. I have a contractor sized black garbage bag taped to the floor under where my daughter paints even though it is on tile. Paint drips are inevitable; it keeps the floor safe and you less worried. *See papertowel section below for quick clean up.

  4. Smock - I use garbage bags Paint cups with - Again, a little janky but real smocks seem like an unnecessary cost and then I have to wash it and ish. I put a whole in the bottom and then on the sides of a kitchen garbage bag and it works like a charm. I tie a knot of use a hair tie to make a knot in the back if I want to make it alittle tighter to the body. You may call it janky. I call it resourceful :)

  5. Paint cup with top - These are a thing that you might think "I'm just going to be resourceful and use a cup from my kitchen." Nah. Buy the paint cups with the tops. Easy to store the paint, less mess when used, and easy to close when your child is done painting. You have a child covered in paint and a wet painting, having the paint cup covered as you clean up so that it doesnt get knocked over and add to the clean up is SUPER helpful!

  6. Water container with latching top - Fill up the container with enough water for your child to wash their hands in. Put one pump of hand soap in the water. When they are done painting, leave the smock on and let them play in the water. Playing in the water is another fun, engaging activity and also gets those hands clean! Again, just like with the paint cup, the top is important so that the water isnt open before you want your child to use it or after your child is done (or you want your child to be done).

  7. Paper towel - Those inevitable paint drips have to be wiped up quickly because stepping in said paint drip is also inevitable if it is left there. Then said paint drip has spread to who knows where when your child walks off the protective floor covering. You'll also need paper towel for when paint gets on you when helping and then cleaning of the hands after your child plays in the water. Some water may spill or get

splashed so the paper towel is always helpful. You can never really know how much paper towel you may need so just have a roll right by the spot where painting happens.

Pro tip for when finished painting: When your child is finished painting, put the top on the paint, put the paint brush in the water they will wash their hands in, move the painting to a place it can dry and they can't get to. This gets rid of many of the avenues for spillage or other forms of paint getting unadvertantly spread.


HAPPY PAINTING FRIENDS! Get after it and enjoy! Your child will be all smiles. It sounds like a lot but if you are prepared, it really goes very smoothly and is so worth it!




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