the way. Try a clear plastic shoe holder that hangs
from the top of a door. You can find this type of shoe
organizer at a department store or home improve-
ment store. Each shoe pocket can hold a different
type of painting implement. The implements are
not only neatly organized but also easily visible
through the plastic. And best of all, young children
can’t dump this kind of storage container!
A hanging shoe holder used for brushes and rollers
If you’re using different kinds of painting imple-
ments, you’ll also need different kinds of contain-
ers to hold paint and water. When the children are
painting with brushes, good containers might be
baby food jars, baby food plastic containers and
lids, yogurt cups and lids, and inexpensive plastic
storage containers. When the children are painting
with rollers or brayers, good paint containers might
be plastic trays from microwave or takeout food.
To make containers for when the children are
painting with cotton swabs, cut clear egg cartons
into sections of four compartments each. Put a dif-
ferent color of paint into each compartment. You
might also use a divided plate to hold paint.
creative and authentic art 41
Types of Paint
Explore art with a variety of paints! Try tempera
paint, puffy paint (foam paint), fingerpaint, water-
color cakes, liquid watercolors, corn syrup paint
(created by adding a small amount of corn syrup
to food coloring), powder paint (be cautious about
allergies), and more. (See appendix B for several
Tempera paints work especially well for two-
and three-year-olds. Early on, just offer two or
three colors, preferably the primary colors red, yel-
low, and blue. The children may choose to use pri-
mary colors alone or mix them to create secondary
colors. A bit later, add white for tinting. Next, add
black for shading. This strategy offers children the
opportunity to explore art with an array of colors,
shades, and tints.
Mixing colors is a great learning experience for
young children. Through experimentation, they in-
crease their understanding of colors. As time passes
and children have more experiences with paint and
with blending colors, they become more comfort-
able and confident.
To facilitate learning, help children keep the
base colors separate by providing small contain-
ers or paper plates for mixing. It is too difficult for
young children to mix paint right on their paper.
And many children will not be interested in paint-
ing if you mix the colors for them. Mixing is half
the fun for most children!
Adding other ingredients to paint can have dra-
matic results. Here are some additive ideas: salt,
glitter, sand, dirt, mud, vegetable oil, baby oil, wa-
ter, dishwashing detergent, condensed milk, saw-
dust, and coffee grounds.
Children can paint on a variety of surfaces. Here are
just a few: large butcher paper, canvas, watercolor
paper, drawing paper, fingerpainting paper, alumi-
num foil, waxed paper, poster board, newspapers,