Helping Your Child Paint without Interfering

My daughter has loved to paint since the first time she got her little 7 or 8-month-old hands on a paintbrush! In the years I’ve spent watching and helping with her artistic creations, I’ve learned how to help without interfering with her art. Here are some of my top tips for helping your creative kids unleash their inner artist without having to micromanage them:

Set the Space

Child painting with natural materials

Setting the space during art projects is marking off where your child (and their messy materials & body) can be. Once your child gets used to this boundary they can create under limited supervision without destroying your floors and belongings. Setting the space can be achieved by using a large sheet of vinyl, paper, or an old tablecloth to mark the space your child can create in. If you like your child to have more freedom and space to create, you can always set up space outdoors that doesn’t require the constraints of fabric.

Mix your own Colors

Child learning to mix secondary paint colors with hands

Instead of buying tubes of green, purple, or orange paints mix them yourself! Not only will this save you money, it will also help your child create more detailed, exciting and cohesive paintings. Not sure how to create secondary colors or want to have your child mix themselves? Use a color wheel!

To make your own secondary and tertiary colors start by buying white, red, yellow, & blue because these colors cannot be created by mixing colors. You can mix these primary colors together to form a variety of greens, oranges, and violets. You can even make your own blacks and grays by simply mixing the two colors on opposite sides of the color wheel.

Limit the Palette

Abstract art on canvas using limited color pallet in blue created by preschool aged child

Some days my daughter wants to play with all of the paint colors, and some days she wants to work with a few colors at a time. Here are some of our favorite combinations to add to my daughter’s paint palette:

  • Blue + White / Blue + Yellow + White / Blue + Red / Plain White
  • Red + White / Red + Yellow + White / Red + Yellow
  • Yellow + White / Yellow + Blue / Yellow + Red + White

Don’t Forget Water

Four year old child pouring a mix of gold acrylic paint and water on canvas

Adding water to your paint may not work on paper but it is great when painting on canvas! This process creates movement and interest in paintings.

Be Patient: Paint in Layers

Abstract art on large canvas created by four year old

Painting in layers creates interest and depth because individual colors are allowed to shine. In our experience, this technique doesn’t work well with watercolors but it works great with acrylics!

Can you believe a 4-year-old was able to paint this canvas?! We’d love to see what you create with these tips! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram