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

You Might Also Like...


  • Reply
    April 12, 2010 at 9:51 am

    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.

    • Reply
      April 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      I’ll do that Em. Looking forward to it.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    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

  • Reply
    April 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      April 12, 2010 at 10:42 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    It has been many years since we have had water colours in our house. Will look out for some when I am out shopping next. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I do like how water colours are less messy!

  • Reply
    April 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      April 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    Activities for Children Under Two | Be A Fun Mum
    February 11, 2011 at 7:12 am

    […] Introduce simple painting techniques to young children. Read more…  […]

  • Reply
    Lori Osenbaugh
    September 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Hello and thank you for the inspiration! I homeschool and my boys wanted to paint, I headed to Pinterest and found a link to this blog post! Here is my post about it: http://lifewiththefamilyo.com/2011/09/art-time-with-the-boys/ Thanks again for sharing. Will be bookmarking your site!

  • Reply
    Crepe Streamer Painting
    March 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    […] Easy Painting […]

  • Reply
    Art Time with the Boys | Life with The Family O
    May 16, 2012 at 7:55 am

    […] This year we are doing Adventures in My Fathers World, included in that is “I Can Do All Things” art lesson book.  We did assignments out of there to start off our homeschool week.  The lessons are good but it starts out with coloring and drawing and my boys were dying to paint something.  So I headed over to Pinterest and searched for Kids Painting, got so many great results but one piqued my interest.  It was a paper with swirls, dots, waves and stripes.  I thought it would be a perfect, easy and fun lesson with the boys. The original post is here at Be a Fun Mum. […]

  • Reply
    Autumn Bloom Tree – Watercolour Experiment
    September 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    […] I’ve done many painting activities with the kids over the years, like zip lock bag painting, basic brush techniques, finger painting, body painting and general project painting.  Now that my children are a little […]

Leave a Reply