It started like this
Me: "What are some of your goals and dreams for the new year?"
Monkey: "I want to learn to paint better."
Supplies (for each child participating and for the instructor): one canvas, a sponge brush a medium brush and a small brush, a disposable plate, a glass of water; tubes of acrylic paint to share
Prep: Check out a step by step painting book from the library, preferably the children's section. We used 1, 2, 3, I can paint! by Irene Luxbacher.
Choose with your child which picture you would like to paint. Cover your work area with a plastic tablecloth and wear paint clothes or smocks.
Paint! I explained to the kids that we would all be painting the same picture, I was going to paint something and then they would do exactly what I did on their canvas. Our picture called for six colors, purple, white, black, blue, brown, and green. I squirted each of these paint colors on their plates with stick instructions to not touch until I asked them to. (Keep and eye on your 3 year olds!)
Read the instructions in the book, execute it yourself, and then help the kids along with encouraging words as they work. Try not to help them by painting their picture for them or by "fixing" "mistakes". The way children express themselves by painting is awesome! The goal is not for all the pictures to look exactly the same at the end, the goal is to have fun and to get a little more experience behind a paintbrush. If some of your older ones get frustrated with the fact that it doesn't look quite like yours, encourage them that the more they paint the better they will get and that you love their painting exactly how they did it because it is uniquely theirs and you love them!!
Even if you don't consider yourself artsy or a good painter, I think you should try this activity. The big kids (3, 4 and 6 years old) really loved it so much and we were all very happy with our paintings. I can't wait to do it again!
What special activities do you like to do with your kids?