Mixing colors on a canvas helps my kids understand that combining elements (colors) changes their appearance. While painting, we talk about colors mixing and disappearing, similar to hidden ingredients in treats. My goal is to reinforce the idea that sometimes we can't see the ingredients inside the food we eat.
THE BASIC PLAN:
1. Use quality acrylic paints with non toxic ingredients ~ For example: Crayola Acrylic. Don't use a water based tempera, water color paints, finger paints or Crayola "Kids Paints" on a canvas. It will dry chalky, not stick, wash off or crack once it's dry. You will treasure your child's painting for the experience and the final artwork if you use good materials.
2. Get a good canvas with gallery wrapped sides (not staples in the sides). You won't HAVE to frame it, although it will look great if you do. It's also fun to get a BIG canvas, large enough for the child to get ON and play (or put several medium canvases together).
3. Prepare a safe area ~ Either use a drop cloth or paint outside. Actually, use a drop cloth outside.
4. Plan for your exit strategy ~ Imagine how you will get your paint covered child from the painting to the bathtub/sink/sprinkler. Water from the hose is COLD. On a hot day, I fill a plastic baby pool with water before we start, to let the water warm up ~ think outdoor bath. You'll need soap.
5. Wipe up wet paint before it drys to avoid permanent spots on the floor/wall. If it dries on a hard surface, you can sometimes peel it off. If you let acrylic paint dry on carpet, clothes or paintbrushes ~ it's nearly impossible to remove it.
6. Forget the aprons. Find OLD clothes for everyone & take off your shoes. This includes checking to make sure the clothes YOU are wearing CAN get paint on them. The less you're worried about staying clean, the more fun you'll have.
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