From crayons to chalkboard art, painting is one activity that pretty much every child enjoys and for good reason: what kid could turn down a chance to get messy with mom’s permission? Whether you’re looking for a family project or just trying to find something to occupy your little one for a while, following are a handful of creative art projects for both kids and kids-at-heart:
Make your own sidewalk chalk
Why not? It’s not only economical, it also allows you to come up with your own creative color combinations and teaches your child that everything doesn’t necessarily need to be bought at the store. To make your own sidewalk chalk, you’ll need:
- a variety of tempera paint powder
- Plaster of Paris
- molds: silicone baking molds in any shape work best, but you can use just about anything: clean pudding cups, toilet paper tubes, ice cube trays, muffin tins…pretty much anything that will mold a piece of chalk that can fit in a toddler’s hand.
- Mix 3 Tablespoons of tempura paint with 1 cup of water and 1 1/2 cups Plaster of Paris.
- Add more tempura powder if needed to achieve the color you want.
- When the mixture is thick enough, about the texture of paste, pour into molds and allow it to cure for about an hour. Remove from mold and let the chalk dry for 24 hours and then draw away!
Dry brush with sponges or rags
Dry brushing and rag painting are both done without water, so it allows you to keep a slightly cleaner painting area. It’s still smart, however, to confine all painting activities to a room that can be wiped down easily.
For dry brushing:
- Take a plain sponge (without the abrasive scrub surface on the back) and cut it into several pieces, or brushes.
- Let your little artist dip the sponges in finger paint or another paint that cleans easily and paint away on a wide sheet of butcher’s paper or just some sheets from the printer.
For rag painting, follow the same steps, just with strips of rag instead of sponges. You can also try knotting the rags or folding them into different shapes to create different effects when brushed or pressed down on paper.
Potato stamp art
This one requires adult supervision, but kids can use the final product to their heart’s content…or until the potato starts to turn. For potato stamp art, you’ll need:
- A potato, an apple or another firm-fleshed fruit or veggie
- A knife
- Paint and paper
- Cut the potato a little more than in half.
- Draw the image you want to stamp on the exposed section of the potato with a marker.
- Cut the area around the image down so that the image you drew is raised.
- Press the potato stamp into a spot of paint and stamp away.
Fireworks and other shapes with pipe cleaners
Just as with potato stamps, you can make all sorts of interesting shapes with pipe cleaners, then dip them in paint and stamp them on paper. Make sure to leave a grab-able stem on part of the shape so that it can easily be dipped in the paint.
Nature’s art: painting with leaves and flowers
The best art stamps by far are made by Mother Nature. For leaf and flower painting, go on a nature walk with your budding artist and have him or her pick flowers and leaves with strong, raised veins. For the flowers, dip each in paint and press down as lightly or firmly as you like to leave an impression on the paper. With the leaves, lightly brush the surface with paint and then press on your art surface. The stronger the leaf’s veins, the more stunning the stamp.
From creating reusable label space on pantry jars to painting your crock pot with notes on what’s cooking, chalkboard paint can be used to create a number of fun, artist-friendly areas. Check out the following list of fun ways in which you can turn ordinary items into interactive, entertaining surfaces:
- Paint the top of a rounded edge coffee table
- Paint onto your refrigerator or lower cabinet doors
- Paint onto placemats for a reusable dining room drawing surface
- Paint onto the inside of your child’s lunchbox to leave them daily notes
- Paint on flat wooden building blocks for changeable art
- Paint onto a lunch tray for a drawing surface on long car trips
- Paint on a segment of wall in the kitchen or kid’s room as the designated drawing area
No matter how you approach it, encouraging your kids to express themselves through art is a healthy and fun activity. And their favorite works can be turned into instant, ideal gifts for the grandparents!
What are some ways you’ve found to use chalkboard paint? What are some other quick and easy painting projects that your kids enjoy?
A Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs, Jay Harris provides advice onÂ paint for the Home Depot website. Jay is a regular contributor on homeowner paint topics, ranging from matching colors to lighting to the effect of window treatments on home dÃ©cor.