This weekend I spent some time in the backyard painting a play kitchen with my son. He is 4 and LOVES to paint. If you plan on painting with your kids, here are some tips:
1. Let them know the rules up front.
If you’re using “real” paint, let them know that this paint is only to be used with an adult. Let your child help put down a dropcloth or newspapers, and learn why they are important.
2. Dress them in clothes you don’t care about.
Kids will get paint everywhere. Dress them in old clothes that can be thrown in the trash. I had my son wear an ancient pair of pj shorts.
3. Paint right before a water activity.
We painted right before bath time. Painting shortly before a trip to the pool, or planning to play in the sprinklers afterwards is a great idea.
4. Let them do it.
If you’re going to paint with your kid, let them paint. Know that it is not going to be perfect, and that’s ok. If you want some more control over the final look… give them a part that isn’t as significant. I let my son paint the inside while I painted the outside. I also quickly did a once-over of his work to remove any paint drips or lumps.
5. Put everything away afterwards.
Even if you’ve explained the rules, leaving paint out is so tempting for little hands. Even if you’re not finished with the project, if you are finishing up for the day make sure to put the paint out of reach and out of sight. I had to learn this one the hard way.
Keep these tips in mind and make sure to keep it fun and your child will remember the project that they painted with you long after the paint is chipping off!