Watercolor with Kids

Maggie loves to paint.  We started letting her paint with washable tempura paints when she was around 1.  We love to let her paint art canvases as they instantly look like professional modern art pieces.  About 6 months ago, when she was just over 2, I decided to try watercolors with her as well.

"It's a rocket!"

“It’s a rocket!”

Just like when I was a child, I gave her one of the little solid crayola watercolor sets and a cup of water.  But no matter how many times I showed her or explained it to her, the three step process of dripping the paint brush in water then rubbing it on the paint and then painting on the paper just wasn’t working for her.

watercolor 3

Liquid watercolors

We put it aside for awhile, assuming that it was too advanced and we would try it again when she was older.  A few weeks ago, while sorting thru art supplies, I discovered this set of liquid watercolors that I had in college.  I figured it was worth a shot to see if these would work any better for her, especially now that she is almost 3.

watercolor 2

“It’s a volcano”

This time she caught on very quickly.  I think the fact that you don’t have to rub the water in as much and you don’t need as much water really helped her get the concept.  Sometimes she does still just dip her brush in the water and paint with that.  But because the liquid watercolors are super concentrated, it evens out when she just dips in the paint and puts that on the paper.  I do have her paint on watercolor paper, however.  She uses a lot of water, so traditional art paper just wouldn’t hold up.

watercolor 1

“I made fireworks”

This is a great quiet time activity for her.  She will concentrate on it for up to an hour.  I let her choose the colors, but usually limit it to 1-2 new ones at a time.  This way she doesn’t get overwhelmed with choices.  I squeeze a small amount of color onto a palette and then let her do the rest.  I try to stay quiet and let her discover and make decisions, but I occasionally offer suggestions if I notice she is getting frustrated.

watercolor 7

Inspecting her masterpiece

I’m excited to expand our painting options and love seeing the works of art that she creates!

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