Painting with young children–some tips

brooks_gr 1_ptg

We have some passionate young painters at Williams-Cone School. Making paint available very day allows the children to work over time. Look at the pastel colors in the round palette–all from the primaries plus white.

brooks_gr 1_ptgs


Organizing student work with individual 12″ x 18″ folders allows children to carry their wet paintings to the drying rack. The folder serves as a “messy mat” work surface, a tray to carry a wet painting, and storage for dry work. Even if a child forgets to write their name on the back, their folder is labeled with name, class, and assigned seat.


brooks_anabel_low res


Here is Anabel’s painting on the corner of the drying rack. (grade 1.)

brooks_jacob's sea

I sometimes have the time to elicit the title of a painting.  Jacob (kindergarten) has titled this painting “The Colorful Black Blue Sea.”  Just think about how much more meaning this image holds when we can hear the child’s words.

Marissa's Rainbow, 9" x 12", liquid tempera paint, grade 1

Marissa’s Rainbow, 9″ x 12″, liquid tempera paint, grade 1

This lovely rainbow mandala, with it’s attention to balance, makes me smile every time I see it. I think of Marissa entering art with her class, and how her face lights up when it’s a choice day and she can paint.


One response to “Painting with young children–some tips”

  1. Robin Brooks says:

    Anne Bedrick, an art teacher I met through the TAB-Choice community, spoke about limiting the size of painting paper to 9″ x 12″ inches. While I haven’t gone that far, we begin the year by working on smaller paper. I’ve discovered that the quality of children’s artwork improves when they don’t have to fill such large spaces. As we progress through the year, I vary the format, offering the easels and larger papers as well as other processes like the splatter booth for more physical experiences.