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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Painting Mess Free

Is it just me or has the spring been a little, well, un-springy. Or maybe too springy and not enough summery... Either way, it has been wet and cold and still very restrictive of our outdoor fun. We have not had near enough nice days to make up for the brutally cold winter. To keep my little guy (and mommy too) from climbing the walls, we have had to find a wide array of inside fun things to do. My 3 yr. old loves to paint but hates mess. I woul be happy for him to go all out and dive into the creative fun. But he must have gotten his daddy's borderline-OCD gene and he would prefer to keep his hands clean during his painting escapades. If you, or your toddler, prefer painting to be mess free, here are some suggestions.

Butterfly Painting- Squeeze some paint (we used finger paint) onto some glossy paper. Spread the paint around, staying mostly in the middle of the paper. Usually he uses a paint brush but today he was willing to get his finger (only one!) dirty in the paint.
Fold the paper in half and spread the paint out. This part he loves because the paint feels squishy but he doesn't have to get his hands dirty. Once you open up the paper, you have a cool design and your kid can add embellishments. We usually make them into butterflies but today we decided this one looked like a cow. Make it a game like those Rorschach prints. :)

There are paints out there that keep the paint contained and mess-free. We have tried many different types and some are too hard for him to use- like you have to squeeze the tube too hard while you are painting to get any paint to come out. Two kinds of mess-free paints that we have found and really like are the squeeze brush paints and the dot paints. Both are easy to use and create vibrant colors that don't limit his creativity in any way (my biggest complaint with the Color Wonder stuff). He loves that it is "real paint" and I love that he can create to his heart's content. The dot painting is cool because he can paint free-style or I can write out words or draw shapes that he can trace with the paints teaching him how to write his name and improving his fine motor skills.

These are just a few of my ideas, some things that we have found that work for us.
I also recently came across this idea for painting with watercolors (which we love too but the water cup is always a little problematic.)

Next, I want to try sidewalk paints. Have you used them? If the mess is outside it doesn't matter, right? Or maybe I'll make my own. And once winter somes around again, I am going to try these snow paints.
What are your ideas for mess-free painting? Or do you have any other ideas for inside fun during this cold, rainy spring?


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