Painting with children – exercises for every age

painting with children

Sensual wax crayons, photo Pixabay

Painting with children is fascinating. Even small children watch spellbound when you draw something for them. Schoolchildren eager to learn drawing techniques. Here’s how to encourage child creativity in an age-appropriate way.

Text: Martina Voigt-Schmid


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Through painting and drawing, children acquire their world. Photo: Pixabay

The smallest art lovers love it when adults draw something for them. They find it endlessly fascinating to watch how a dot becomes a line and the line becomes a house, a tree, a cat or Superman. Try it out. Often, a piece of paper and a pencil are enough to stop a child’s tantrum. It’s also a wonderful way for you to "do" something with your child and show them that creativity is part of life. And by your example, you encourage your offspring to make their own voyages of discovery on paper. Toddlers love to smear and pant, make a whole picture disappear under a layer of brown sauce. Painting with children is also called Let children draw.

Painting with children in kindergarten

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Kindergarteners love experimenting with paint and crayons. Photo. Pixabay

Kindergarten children discover with joy what can be done with pencils. They will doodle and scribble, learn to draw circular shapes and create their first pictures from simple shapes. Once learned shapes are gladly repeated: an oval circle with a triangle on it looks like a shark, two long ovals and a small circle at the back: this is how a rabbit is created. For children between 3 and 6 years, painting is enormously important. It allows them to actively influence their world, create things and process experiences. The best thing parents can do at this stage is to hold back on giving good advice, even if the picture meant for grandma’s birthday is a failure in their eyes – everything has a meaning for your child.

Painting with children at school

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Painting at school age Now technique is needed! Photo: Pixabay

Sooner or later all children want to know how to draw something. They wish they could depict things as they see them: Being able to draw naturalistically is the order of the day. Children in this phase are happy about good hints and tips from professionals. Maybe you offer your offspring to visit a painting course where they can learn techniques, e.g., how to draw. B. how to capture proportions correctly, how to draw spatial perspective, how to hatch, how to paint light and shadow and how to mix colors skillfully. Most adult education centers offer good classes and many Artists paint with children, they organize children’s studios or workshops.

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Always stay loose! Photo: Pixabay

Painting games for little ones& Great – this is how creativity gets going

A blank sheet, but no idea? No problem, try one of our games for painting with kids!

Fantasy worlds on paper

First, the children paint on white paper everything they enjoy, z. B. a sun, clouds, birds in the air, grass and trees or even houses. Then, using scissors, cut out all the individual parts and glue them together to form a cheerful picture on other paper.

The little ghost

Tell your child the story of the little ghost: the little ghost haunts, annoys bad people, but is kind to small children. The little ghost is a funny ghost. It gets into mischief, plays all kinds of tricks on people, and when you try to catch it, shoo – it’s gone. Let your child draw the little ghost, how it whizzes through the air, how it annoys people – maybe it draws a little ghost castle as well. Of course, your child can also illustrate another favorite story.

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Photo: Pixabay

Continuing to draw blotches

Take a lot of paint from the paintbox with the brush and blot it on a white sheet of paper. Then fold the sheet in half, rub over it with one hand, so the liquid paint is squished into a blob picture. With a little imagination, children discover figures in the blobs of paint that they can draw with a few pencils: just outlines, eyes, ears – depending on what your child has in mind.

Gluing collages

For this you need tissue paper in at least five different colors, some mixed wallpaper paste, paper of any size, a clock.

Everyone has 20 minutes to make one (or more) collages. The children may tear, crumple, glue the paper on top of each other, but do not cut it with scissors. The picture can be abstract or representational, just as the mood takes you. Very important: Don’t think about it for a long time, just do it – you can look and analyze later if you want to.

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Painting with children: Large formats broaden the horizon. Photo Pixabay

Warm-up exercise

For this exercise it is best to stand. Take a large sheet of paper and fix it to the wall, or stretch it on a piece of cardboard or plywood and place it on an easel. Using a thick brush and enough water, paint generous swaths on the paper with a bright color. Find your rhythm. What the result looks like is not important. When a lively background is created in this way, use other colors and paint loose circles on it. It is not important that the circles are painted accurately, but that you get a feeling for the brush and for the movement. Play with the colors, enjoy them. You will see that the result does not look bad at all.

Painting landscape

Here you should not work too small either. Imagine a landscape, like a beach with the open sea behind it, a green chain of hills, or a meadow with majestic mountains in the background. Now paint this landscape in a very simple way, with a thick brush, in loose sweeps from right to left. Start with very diluted paint and gradually apply thicker layers of paint. Focus more on the color, not so much on the shape. Build the picture from horizontal stripes and stay loose and playful.

Painting mandala

You can find out everything you need to know about this beautiful drawing technique here.

Painting together –

Thoughts by Michael Fink on painting with children in a talk at the KLAX Parent Academy


Photo: Pixabay

"Paint together. Many parents are very reluctant to paint with their children, even if they specifically want them to. St. Exupery’s "Little Prince" begins with the very thing that often causes adults problems: The first-person narrator wakes up in the middle of the desert after a plane crash and hears a strange little voice: "Please draw me a sheep!" "How please?" "Draw me a sheep!"And the adult immediately gets scared, because "I had been thrown out of my painting career at the age of six and had learned to draw nothing but closed and open giant snakes." Then, after the narrator failed a few sheep drawings, he simply drew a box, with the excuse "The sheep you want is stuck in there!"

Of course the little prince is satisfied. I think the story expresses exactly what I imagine painting culture to be: The adult gets involved in the game together, in the story that happens on the paper, and that is exciting for both sides. Probably also instructive for both sides, because as with the little prince, there is much for us to learn from the seriousness with which children paint."

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