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Toddler Talk: No-Mess Painting

Ramona loves to make her mark. Crayons, water colors, chalk, finger paints, my pens! Recently, she’s been wanting to play with the set of acrylic paints we have. This takes a lot of supervision as well as cleanup—well, that, and making sure she has clothes on that can get dirty.

This is all well and good most of the time, but sometimes it’s nice to have some tricks up my sleeve that cut down on cleanup and playtime prep work. Additionally, it was raining so we couldn’t get outside, where we usually do our messier projects.

What to do? Contain it! Using items I had around the house (heavyweight computer paper, plastic baggies and paint) I brainstormed a way to create a contained painting space without having to set up a whole corner for the project (I also didn’t have any newspaper on hand to lay out!).

Your child can have free rein squishing around paint and making an abstract masterpiece, and you won’t have to worry about messy fingers (though those are cute sometimes, too!).

What you need:

-paints (we used acrylic)

-heavyweight paper or a small cardboard canvas

-gallon-size plastic baggie

What you do:

Make sure your canvas fits inside the plastic bag.

Squeeze the paint onto the canvas. There’s no science to this part: Use a lot or use a little.

Mix the colors, or see what happens if you keep them farther apart.

Put the canvas inside the baggie and seal shut.

Have your little one squish around the paint to mix it up! Kids will have fun using their finger pads, nails and knuckles. Maybe even stamp the paint with various objects, such as a small cup or the back of a spoon.

When you’re all done, you may need to cut the edges of the bag to easily lift out the canvas. Set it on a paper bag or laid-out newspaper for it to dry. Give it about 24 hours to completely dry, depending on how thickly the paint was applied.

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