Teach your Kids how to Paint

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As school districts attempt to absorb massive budget cuts, they are cutting a lot of important programs.

Typically, one of the first areas to be cut is art. This is unfortunate, as art education is essential to a child’s development.

If the art department is lacking at your school, it is more than possible to pick up the slack on your own – even if you know absolutely nothing about the arts.

Paint Brushes

The first step to getting started in homeschooled art is to purchase the appropriate supplies. In order to paint, your child will need a good set of paint brushes. The type of brush you choose will depend on the style you plan to pursue and the type of paint you’ll be using.

If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to buy a ton of different brushes, you’d be best off investing in a filbert brush. This versatile brush can be used to create a variety of different strokes and effects. The brush does wear down with use, but unless your child is painting several hours a day, it should last a long time.

Types of Paint:

There are many different kinds of paint that your kid can work with. Each type has its own advantages. For children in elementary school, you are best of sticking with water based paints. If your child spills paint on the carpet or smears it on the wall, you’ll be able to wash it out without too much trouble.

Let’s take a closer look at these different kinds of kid’s paints…

Tempera Paint

If you child is in preschool or just starting out in elementary school, tempera paint is an ideal choice. It is simple to use, and as a water based paint, can be washed out if your child spills it. Tempera paint is opaque, so if your child paints one color over the other, the end result will only show the second color. Using opaque paints can limit what you are able to do on the canvas, but it also simplifies things for beginners.

Poster Paint

A specific type of tempera, poster paint is best left to signs and banners. It can come in the form of markers or stored in jars. Some manufacturers also sell poster paint in powdered form. There is a huge variety of colors available, including metallics and flourescents. Poster paint is far less expensive than other forms, but if you want your child to truly learn about the art of painting, you won’t limit him or her to just poster paint.

Finger Paint

Finger paint is similar to tempera, but is mainly intended for very young children. Instead of using brushes, the children have the opportunity to get messy and splatter paint with their hands. Finger paint was invented in 1931 by Ruth Faison Shaw. Although she initially developed it as an alternative medium for children, she soon discovered that finger painting could provide great therapeutic benefits.

Watercolor Paint

Most elementary art teachers start children on watercolor paints between ages 8 and 10. Like tempera, watercolor stains can be removed with a little effort. Unlike tempera, watercolor is a transparent paint. This means that when a child paints blue on top of yellow, the two colors will combine to form green. This transparent nature allows for a greater range of techniques to be used.

Children can practice using paint that is more or less watery, try out different brushes and brushstrokes, overlap various colors, or use wax paper to create unique designs.

Acrylic Paint

This type of paint can be used for a variety of projects. It dries quickly, making it an ideal choice for impatient kids. Although it can be used for painting on a canvas, acrylic paint is best for decorating 3D objects, such as wooden boxes and clay pots. Most acrylic paint is easy to clean up, although some types leave nasty stains.

Art Styles

In the early stages of childhood, you are best off letting little artists explore with paint on their own. You can ask them to paint a simple object, such as a dog or tree. As children get older, you can help to expand their knowledge of artwork by presenting new styles.

As you teach kids about the various styles of artwork, it helps to also present a few artists famous for those particular styles. For example, if you are teaching about impressionism, you’ll want to show the student some paintings by Monet. Here are a few art styles that kids enjoy learning about:


Younger kids may have a difficult time grasping the concept of abstract art, but those in middle school and high school enjoy exploring this unique style. Instead of focusing on specific objects or people, abstract looks at emotions and larger concepts.


The best known impressionist is Claude Monet. If you’ve seen his work, you already know that it looks like a bunch of blobs close up and turns into a beautiful garden when viewed from far away.


Surrealist art takes well-known objects and transforms them into oddities. The surrealist artist hopes that his or her work will make people rethink the things they’ve always taken for granted.

Pop Art

This style was made famous by Andy Warhol. Inspired by comics and print advertising, pop art takes everyday objects and transforms them through the use of loud colors.

Art Sources

Sometimes, getting kids interested in the arts can be a challenge. They might not feel that art holds any real significance in their lives. If this sounds like your kid, there are many ways to get him or her excited about art.

Start by checking out some basic art books at the library. You can look at biographies of artists, how-to books, or books filled with famous paintings.

The next step is to take your child to a museum and expose him or her to all of the great works of art. Finally, you can make a difference by pointing out all the examples of art present in everyday life.

All it takes is a little imagination and a whole lot of creativity! :)

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