Kids are big fans of paint. It doesn’t matter how old they are, what they love to do for fun, or how cool they are; kids love to paint. There is something cathartic about painting that brings them some sense of pleasure and calm. They don’t all like to paint the same things, but it is one of the few activities that my four kids will do together. My oldest will come downstairs and help her youngest sister with a cute jewelry painting kit, or our middle daughter and our son will paint rocks together.
The point, I think, is that paint is so extraordinarily messy that they cannot get enough of it. After all, they are kids. the messier, the more involved, and the more time you have to spend as a parent preparing, helping, and cleaning, the better. I’m almost positive that’s the way children’s minds work. However, if your kids are over paint paper and calling it a day, there are a few other things they might try to paint that they will also love. Here are some of the most fun ideas around, and a few instructions on how you can execute them.
The Best Rock Painting Art Projects for Kids
Rock painting is a cute art, but remember that you cannot take rocks from public gardens, someone else’s yard, or National Parks. Additionally, cleaning rocks with bleach and water and allowing them to dry before you paint is what works best.
1. Rock Art With Inspiring Quotes – We’ve talked before about how beautiful these are and what you can do with them. For now, how about putting some rock art quotes out for those who might need a midday pick-me-up or something of that nature? Simple quotes work best, of course.
2. Lady Bug Rocks – Red with some fun black dots, a cute face, and any other lady bug detail you can think of is going to be lovely for this.
3. Mermaid Scale Rocks – Mermaid scales are easier than you think, and they are fun to create. These rocks are easy to make using small ‘u’ shapes with pastel colors and a black acrylic marker to define the mermaid scales.
4. Rainbow Rocks – These are great for kids of all ages because they are rainbows. You don’t get simpler than this.
5. Monster Rocks – These rocks are often so much fun for kids because they’re so seasonal. They’re perfect for a Halloween or fall activity in which you can get the kids to focus on something exciting and spooky. Just paint a rock the color you want – using acrylic paints. Monster rocks might be green or purple, ghosts might be white, etc. Then, just add other colors to paint a monster face. Kids will fall hard for this one.
The Best Canvas Painting Ideas for Kids
Canvas is always more fun than boring old paper, is it not? Your kids will love painting on canvas, and they make great gifts for grandparents. They love grandkids’ homemade art, and canvases are pretty when they’re hung up and displayed well.
6. Self-Portraits – A self-portrait is a beautiful idea, and perfection is not welcome here. Have your kids paint themselves as they see themselves. What you might see in the end is going to shock you.
7. Beach Scenes – Beaches are easy to paint, even for smaller kids. You just need some sand, water, and the sky. Add a few waves for ambiance, and throw in a few seagulls if you’re feeling crazy.
8. Holiday Scenes – What holiday is fast approaching? Whatever time of year you’re paining with the kids, try having them pain t their favorite part of each holiday. Perhaps they love the fireworks on the Fourth of July and want to paint a beautiful scene as such. There are so many things you can do, and this is an idea that keeps working throughout the year.
9. Your Family – What do kids love more than anything? Their families, of course. Ask your children to paint a family portrait of all of you doing what you love to do the most. What’s your favorite activity? Are you a big fan of playing sports in the backyard together? Do you love to go on walks as a family? Have your children paint a lovely photo of your family doing what you all love the most, and then hang it up somewhere it can be shown off.
10. Your Pets – Everyone loves a good pet portrait. Have your kids paint your pet on a canvas. The way kids see your cats, dogs, hamsters, birds, lizards, or whatever you have as a pet (and if your pet is none of the above and it’s something entirely different, I’d like to know what it is please and thank you) is adorable, and I can promise your kids will love the idea.
The Best Wood Painting Projects for Kids
One of my own children’s favorite things to do is paint on wood. I pick it up – generally – at Hobby Lobby in the crafting section. They have the most fun items to choose from. My kids have painted giant wooden initials for themselves, welcome signs for their own bedroom doors, art that looks like cool pieces of wood hung up, and so much more. You can peruse the craft store aisles until you find what you are looking for. Your kids might want to have a little say in the décor they are painting for their own bedrooms, however.
11. Wooden Welcome Signs – Whenever our kids decide they want to ‘redecorate’ their own bedrooms, it usually means we are in the store picking up new bedding and new wall art for them. They love to paint their own art for their doors, though. Welcome signs of their own using the blank wooden art boards we pick up.
12. Wooden Picture Frames – Both mine and my husband’s parents are obsessed with the kids’ homemade gifts. They want to have everything these kids have ever made, painted, drawn on even though they should not have…you get the point. These kids can do no wrong in the eyes of our parents. My point is that they love to paint them wooden frames and put their own photos in the frames to give to their grandparents. It brings them all joy, and who are we to deny that?
13. Wooden Letters – Sometimes, you just want to paint your own name using fun letters. My middle daughter advises that you pick wooden letters in various sizes, though, because the ones that are too similar are ‘too boring’ in her mind. My youngest daughter, on the other hand, would like all of her letters perfectly sized, matching, and aligned just so. Either way, let your kids pick their own and get to painting.
14. Wooden Holiday Signs – The holidays are a big time in our house, and one way to keep the kids entertained is to allow them to paint wooden holiday signs. We also let them do their own ornaments for their own bedroom trees, too. They love nostalgic things like this, and they always ask to do it no matter how old they get. It’s like decorating cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, except it’s making their own Christmas ornament for their own tree every year.
15. Wooden Plaques – Another cute wood painting idea is a plaque. Again, you can pick these up at the local craft store. Let your kids paint whatever they want. Maybe they want a plaque to put in the garage in front of their own designated bike spot so that their siblings don’t ‘steal’ their parking spot. They can paint signs for the garden, for the house, for the pool deck, for their friends. There are not rules.
Miscellaneous Painting Ideas for Kids They’re Sure to Love
These are some of the best creative painting methods that don’t have any ‘rules’. They’re going to delight your little ones.
16. Puffy Paint – Puffy paint is something anyone can do, but it’s also a creative outlet for kids who want to paint, but they don’t want to paint something traditional. Puffy paint is available at most craft stores, and you can use it on anything from canvas to wood to paper, though posterboard is probably a better option for puffy paint.
17. Symmetry Paint – This is one of my favorite types of artwork to make with my own children. This is a simple project, and you’ll need either plain paper or construction paper. Simply paint something off to the side of your paper, and then fold the paper over onto itself when your painting is complete. The symmetry is the paint that transfers to the other side of your folded paper. It’s a great way to make a painting look even more special than it already does.
18. Ice Paint – Hear me out with this one. Ice paint is so cool, but it’s also something you’ll need to think about in advance. Simply fill an ice cube tray halfway with water, add a drop or two of food coloring to each ice tray – use different colors – and then freeze it. Now, on a hot day, take the kids outside with some paper. Take the ice out, and let them rub the ice all over their paper. It’s a fun way to cool off on a hot day. What I like to do with this one is use a big roll of paper rather than single sheets. It also keeps the food coloring from getting all over every single thing we own (we also do this in the driveway or on the floor in the garage or on the front porch with a plastic table cloth under it).
19. Salt Paint – If you are looking for something slightly different to do with the kids, this is it. Salt paint is so cool. You simply trace glue on a piece of paper in a shape or design of your child’s choosing. Then sprinkle salt (Morton’s is the best) on top of the paint. Now, use a medicine dropper filled with food coloring (use more than one so you can have multiple colors), and drop the paint on the salt and watch it spread. It’s different, but it’s also super cool. Don’t forget to let it sit and dry for a few hours.
20. Paint Tossing – Are you ready to get messy? Okay, you’re going to need to line the entire area with paper. The floor, all the walls, and the ceiling. Maybe do this outdoors? Put your kids in cheap goggles and an apron (and cheap clothes and shoes you don’t care about) and let them put paint on their brushes and throw the paint at the papered walls. If you want individual artwork, simply hang canvases in front of your papered walls to let them fling paint at it. It’s so much fun. You can tape letters or designs on the canvas, too, so when the paint dries you can pull the tape off and have a fool piece of art.
Painting is Therapeutic
Artwork is beautiful because it’s subjective. No one can tell you whether it’s pretty or not. If you like it, that is the only thing that matters about it. The beauty of art is that anyone can make it, and you can do it as easily or as aggressively as you wish. It’s a form of therapy, too, so you might calm down your child when he or she is in a mood, given them a chance to unwind after a difficult day, or give them something to focus on when they’re restless. Art is subjective. Kids are subjective. Let them do what they feel good doing, but keep this resource so that you always have something to reference when you want to pick up extra supplies and keep them in the house for the kids. It’s better to be prepared for your impromptu art parties, no?