Things to Have Kids Paint With Watercolors

by Valerie A. Modreski

Children are artistically curious by nature and easily inspired when it comes to artwork. Give a child a watercolor paint palette, and a variety of interesting things to paint, and she is encouraged and inspired to use her imagination. Kids love watercolor paints; they just need a little help with ideas of what to paint.

Watercolors and Teamwork

This project for kids inspires imagination and promotes teamwork. Search through any magazine and find a simple photo of a face. Choose a picture without a lot of detail or background images. Cut the photo from the magazine in half. Tape one half to a child's full sheet of art paper and the other half to another child's. Tell them to use their watercolors to paint what they think the other half of the picture would look like. When they are done, fold the half-painted watercolor pictures in half and match them with their partner's. These make funny images and the kids enjoy the camaraderie.

Watercolor Stationery

Kids like to write notes. To make homemade stationery, wet an entire sheet of art paper. Set the wet sheet on a solid surface, like a desktop. Using a wet brush with watercolor paints, have the children blot spots on the paper. The colors will spread and mix to make unique shapes and images. Use every color and do not make them too dark. Hang the sheets to dry and they are then ready to use as personalized stationery.

Flowers With Watercolor Plants

Have the children bring in a few flowers. Any flower will do but it should be about the size of a daisy. On a large sheet of art paper, glue the flowers sporadically around the upper half of the paper. Now the kids can use watercolors to paint what the plant of that flower would look like. Have them paint the seed in the ground, the roots coming from the seed underground, and the plant as it extends its stems to reach the flowers. This is an art project that is also a lesson in plant biology.

Watercolor and Papier-Mache Hot Air Balloons

Blow up enough small, 6- to 8-inch balloons for each child. Cut newspaper into 6-by-1-inch pieces. In a bowl mix papier-mache paste with newspaper strips and fully saturate. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover each balloon completely with papier-mache mixture, leaving a small, penny-sized hole in the bottom. Allow to dry. Once dry, insert a pin through the hole, popping the balloon. The balloon should then slide out easily. Using watercolors, paint the papier-mache hot air balloon with many designs and colors. Cut four strips of string, 8 inches long. Glue one end of the strings around the rim of a small paper cup, evenly spaced, and the other ends, evenly spaced, around the center of the painted papier-mache hot air balloon. Unbend one prong of a large paper clip, insert into the top of the hot air balloon at an angle that will hold, making a hook suitable for hanging.

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