As a toddler, if presented with a blank piece of paper, S would spent 2 or so minutes painting some blobs of color and announce that she was done. If I gave her a coloring book, she would be too overwhelmed by all of the choices to be able to pick one. So I thought up a happy medium: homemade coloring pages! S loves that they are custom made for her, and they offer more structure than a blank piece of paper. And, since there's just one, she's not overwhelmed with choices either. On this day she wanted to use her watercolors and she wanted to paint a dinosaur.
I drew a "dinosaur" (toddlers don't really care how accurate your drawings are, thankfully) on some watercolor paper using a Sharpie permanent marker. It dried quickly and was ready for her artistic touch within a minute.
Painting with toddlers is often about exploration. S painted her dinosaur for awhile, then took a break to paint the paper towel. It might seem like she's off task, but she was comparing how the paint looked on each surface and noted how much brighter it appeared on the paper.
Next she got distracted by a little color mixing. Color mixing in any form is always a huge hit in our house. Sometimes the color you need for your dinosaur just doesn't exist, and you have to make it yourself.
And here's her finished work of art. Isn't he just the most rainbowriffic dinosaur you've ever seen?