Painting Games for First-Graders

by Jen Kim
Teach children to embrace their colorful and creative side with painting games and projects.

Teach children to embrace their colorful and creative side with painting games and projects.

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Is your child the next Michelangelo? Picasso? Rembrandt? Help early learners cultivate their creative side by playing these innovative and art-focused painting games and activities. These inexpensive crafting projects can be made from household materials and are also easily modified to accommodate children and artists of all ages.

Painting Furniture

Let little ones decorate unfinished wooden furniture. They'll learn how to mix and create their own colors in the process. Some simple furniture ideas include: an unfinished chair, picnic table or even a simple picture frame. Make two piles of index cards -- one should have the colors and the other should have the parts of the chair (e.g., front left leg). Have the child select a card from each pile (e.g., seat, blue). Using a paintbrush or a sponge, have the child paint the chair part the corresponding color. Continue until the entire chair is painted. Let dry.

Food Coloring Paint

Make simple, edible paint using food coloring or drink mix. Just add a few drops of food coloring to a cup of water to create your own watercolors. Give each child a sheet of watercolor paper and a paint brush (cut-up sponges also work well). Teach youngsters about still life by setting up a bowl of fruit or stationary object for them to paint. If you are making drink-mix paint, use just one or two teaspoons for every cup of water.

Community Mural

Get a group of youngsters involved in painting a community mural. Roll out a long piece of butcher paper and tape it to a wall. Have the children brainstorm what they want the mural to represent. Each student can then sketch ideas. Provide nontoxic acrylic paint, paintbrushes and stamps. If kids have trouble coming up with ideas, supply them with magazines and catalogs. This also makes a good classroom project.

Paint a Collective Picture

Make a masterpiece, one stroke at a time. This is a good way to teach youngsters about the art of teamwork. Give each student a piece of art paper, one color of paint and a paintbrush or sponge. Each child can then draw one shape on the paper then pass the paper along to the person sitting beside her. The next child must then add a shape or line to the new picture. This continues until each person has contributed to each painting. The children can vote on their favorite paintings and hang them on the wall.

About the Author

Since 2008, Jen Kim has been a professional writer and blogger, working for national publications such as Psychology Today and Chicago Tribune affiliates. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.

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