My kids are generally happiest outside, which I imagine is the same for most kids. The air is heating up and we’re looking for more opportunities to step outside, and I always love it when I land on ideas for combining my love for the outdoors and art (the perfect combination if you ask me).
The other day my 3 year old wanted to paint a big, smooth river rock that mysteriously turned up in our driveway, so I filled an old ice cube tray with non-toxic, AP certfied, washable liquid watercolors, and placed it outside with a few watercolor brushes. N got in a bathing suit and little R was happy in a diaper cover.
Go at it, kids! (This is where I step back and enjoy the sunshine and a cup of coffee).
I had dinner with a friend about a month ago, and when the topic of my blog came up she said, “I love your blog, but you’re so messy!” It’s true, I’m not afraid of a mess, and for the most part my kids aren’t either.
Messes aren’t something I go in search of. I’m actually pretty wary of them because it generally means more cleaning work for me, and I really do hate cleaning. But mess-making and kids often go hand-in-hand. Because it’s important for children to experience feelings of flow with their creative energy, it helps to have some strategies for managing the mess.
Tips for Outdoor Painting with Kids
- Choose a warm day when everyone is happy to be half naked outdoors.
- Use washable paints. We used liquid watercolors, but tempera paint works great too. You could also add a little bit of dish soap to each color to help expedite the clean up. You don’t want to yell “stop” every three minutes, and the washable paint will let you breathe easy.
- Offer them something to paint: Rocks, logs, grass, and sidewalks are washable or can withstand a layer or two of paint. An old table? A wooden apple crate? Cardboard boxes? Extend the painting experience by offering different substrates.
- Hose off, sit in a wading pool, or have easy access to a tub or shower.
Although this began as a rock-painting activity, my 19 month old discovered that her skin was an empty canvas.
When they were done, I carried my youngest inside and plopped the two of them in the tub for a quick rinse off.
More Outdoor Painting Ideas
DIY Crushed Chalk Painting, The Chocolate Muffin Tree
Outdoor Water Painting: All you need is a tub of water and a brush for this clean painting activity
Painting a Pop-up Tent, Filth Wizardry
DIY Outdoor Easel Painting (and a clever idea for storing paint pots), Filth Wizardry
Brilliant idea for setting up an outdoor studio with Spray Painting Canvas Patio Walls, made from painter’s drop cloth, The Artful Parent
Where (and what) do your kids like to paint? How are you getting outdoors this summer?
I’m excited to share that I’m partnering with GoGo squeeZ as a Playbassador, which means that I have more excuses to get my kids outdoors for imaginative and unexpected outdoor play. GoGo squeeZ makes yummy applesauce for healthy, easy, on-the-go snacking, and I look forward to sharing some fun outdoor posts over the next few months that celebrate the spirit of this playful and easy-to-transport snack.
Check out GoGo squeeZ for more fun activities and tasty treats to take outdoors. My kids love every flavor of their applesauce, and it’s the easiest thing to take along with us to the park, hikes, beach, or backyard. It’s gluten-free and Kosher, and I’m impressed that they partner with TerraCycle to recycle their packaging into things like bags, pencil cases, and playgrounds. If you save your packaging, you can send it to TerraCycle free-of-charge!
Interested in more on the fun new GoGo squeeZ packaging? Get a first look here.
All ideas expressed in this post are my own.
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