Watercolours: Early Painting Ideas

Painting can be messy, I know. The wonderful thing about watercolours is mess is kept to a minimum, compared to regular children’s paints. Children from as little as 12 months can enjoy painting with supervision. My daughter enjoyed helping me with this post.

Set up

A cup of water

Paper towel (for absorbing excess water)

Piece of paper

Watercolour pallet

Paint Brushes (it’s a good idea to have a few different sizes for variety and experimentation)


Art should be an expressive and fun activity; however, this doesn’t mean a little learning can’t be incorporated into the experience.

Basic brush techniques: Experiment with different ways of moving the brush.  Example below.

Dry brush / Wet brush: Two different looks can be achieved by using a very wet brush or a relatively dry one. Example below.

Wet paper / Dry paper: Try wetting the paper before painting. This can provide an easy surface to belend colours.

Mixing colours – Now this is just plain fun.  What colour combinations can you create?


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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

Latest posts by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum (see all)


  1. says

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am glad you are a painting Mum too! You will enjoy my post this Wednesday, please stop by again and say Hi! Have a happy day.

  2. says

    Hey Kelly,
    Thanks for stopping past my blog. I love new visitors as I get to see what they get up too!! Your blog looks great and I’ll have to have a look through for some more activities while we are on school holidays. This morning I took my 3 outside on a big play mat in the morning sun and did some simple draws, traced our hands and feet (always a winner) and drew what we could se in our back yard…

    looking forward to reading more about your mumminess!!

    xo Steph

  3. says

    I often lament to my sisters that I missed the ‘fun mum’ gene. I do the paining – promise – but stress the whole time about the mess. I need to get into the ‘fun along the way’, I guess. I’m trying, Kelly, I’m trying!

    • says

      lol. All we can do is try right? Being a FunMum isn’t just doing messy activities, it’s when you drive the long way home so your son can see the John Deer tractor factory or twirling for a moment with your daughter. I’m sure you are fun in un-mess-ish ways. A line from the Disney movie Mulan comes to mind: We all can’t be acupuncturists. Wow, that was random. Go the pink fibro!

  4. Alissa says

    Well after seeing your “painted child” I figured 12 months was old enough to do some painting… so the other day I stripped by boy to his nappy, got out the paints and paper (and a very large piece of cardboard to try to ‘capture’ the anticipated mess) and set him to it. Well, the hand went into the paint and then straight into the mouth – so half face painted….proceeded by random body spots! And then he crawled through the paint, and then all over the deck (the cardboard was not big enough!) leaving a multicoloured trail! He seemed to enjoy himself, and I enjoyed watching him… but, arg – the mess!! Think water colours might be a much better idea – and I never even thought of it! I’ve been trying to think of “clean” art opportunities for a 1 year old. Thanks for the idea!

    • says

      Alissa, I’m SOOO proud of you! I’m sure he would have loved the activity. You are right though, it IS messy. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon activity. I’m posting a clean craft activity tomorrow, Watch out for it.

      I hope you took some pictures.

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