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

This is just plain fun.  What colour combinations can you create?

More complex water painting projects

Autumn Tree

Jacaranda Tree

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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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