I've learned over the years that what often brings peace to our chaotic days with toddlers and preschoolers is to make art. While it feels a bit counterintuitive to hand art supplies to lively little ones, it's pretty amazing what art can do to calm their minds and bodies. Watercolor is my favorite medium for ages 2-5 because it's easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to clean up.
Our family has tested many different watercolor supplies over the years, and I want to share my very favorites for little ones. I find that using quality supplies makes a difference for kids (and adults!), so I have loved these because they are both affordable and good quality. I like to keep these stashed in a low cabinet near our kitchen table so that when the kids ask to paint, it's an easy "yes"!
1. Food tray
: This $5 fast food tray is a game changer because it protects our table and the "lip" on the tray is not too high to make it awkward to use for painting. You could also use this for play dough, kinetic sand, or other types of painting.
2. Watercolor paper
: I love using these pre-cut 6x9" watercolor sheets as they fit well on the trays and feel just the right size for little hands. They can also hold a lot of water without tearing.
3. Watercolor brushes
: This $9 pack of brushes contains 20 brushes in various sizes and could be used by multiple students. I recommend teaching kids to rinse out their brushes in the water, then laying the brush flat on a paper towel to dry. This will ensure the brush maintains its shape.
4. We typically use a small mason jar to hold water, but if you're nervous about it tipping over, you could also use a bowl that suctions to the table
and will not spill.
5. Watercolor paint
: We buy one set of these paints every year for each child (and write their name in Sharpie on the back) and it lasts the entire school year and beyond. The pigments are vibrant and beautiful!
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