Home > Crafts for and with Kids > Painting just to paint

Painting just to paint

I have come to realise recently that a lot of what I have been doing with J craft wise is very end product orientated, so we are always aiming to “Make something” – it’s partly as that is what J asks to do he wants to make “Animal Prints” or “Snowmen” and partly because as an adult that is what we are conditioned to do – we don’t just play or create there is always a thing that we want to make.

Painting using sponges to spot paint
J painting with sponges to form dots on his paper

So this week I am just letting J paint because he wants to paint. I’m sitting on my hands as he mixes various colours together and getting him what ever he wants to use – brushes, sponges, pom poms, cotton wool balls, pine cleaners, googley eyes and pens (yes they were all asked for today). I’m also biting my tongue and not asking him what he is painting – if he’s telling me then it’s great but often he’s just experimenting with what appears.

Using brushes to mix colours in process art
J using brushes to paint and in the process learn about colour mixing

It’s wonderful to watch him enjoy painting just because he can paint and not being directed by me as to what we’re going to make. It’s also made me realise that I need to add some new things to our art and craft box to match his needs for painting. At some point this year I would like to get him an easel – at the moment all painting is carried out either standing up at his little table or seated at our dining table which doubles as our crafting table but getting him an easel would mean that he would have much more freedom to paint and for those that the fear of using an easel at home check out Tinkerlab’s recipe for easy Indoor Easel Painting.

This is the sort of easel that we are going to go for it has a paper roll and a chalk board as well as a shelf for paint pots and brushes which is the other part that is missing for our art and crafts box – at present we are using yogurt pots and dishes to put the paints in but having a set of pots specifically for paints would mean that painting was much more accessible especially if they had lids so could be stored with paint in at the end of a painting session.

There are lots of good information on blogs at the moment about process Art which is basically what I’ve been doing letting J learn about painting just for the fun of painting. Dilly Dali Art has just started a series on Process Art with Finger Painting as part 1 of the series, Nurture Store has started a series about Art Exploration where its the process and not the product – first off is pipe cleaners.

Process Art in action
J painting for fun with one brush in each hand and his 2 dishes of colours

As a child my summers were spent painting in the garden at my easel and that’s what I remember most – yes we made stuff but by far it was the memories of the easel being set up and making up the poster paints from the powder in the paint pots getting the brushes out and our Dad’s shirts and painting for the pleasure of painting and now that is what I have to remember with J – just to let him paint for the pleasure of painting and teach him that it’s not always for the purpose of creating something.


  1. Kids just love to be free to do whatever they want sometimes don’t they? Thanks for linking to fun sparks xx

  2. Painting just to paint is just perfect. Mine love doing that and getting messy!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


    1. It’s been a big development thing for him recently – before he wanted to be told to paint something and wasn’t really interested in just painting because he could – now it’s all he wants to do. Just need to get organised so that it is easier to do

  3. J really looks like he had a lot of fun. It’s great that you were willing to get him what he asked for, it’s so easy to want to automatically say no. It’s also great that his process made you realize you need to add to your supplies to keep up with his painting.
    I often find that my girls are growing faster than I realize, sometimes you just need to step back to see it!

    Wonderful post 🙂

    1. It’s so fun to let him explore the medium. I’m loving your playdough post looking forward to letting him mix up all the colours (not :()

  4. Great, thanks for that! I was just thinking yesterday that I needed to search for some inspiration to give my daughter more scope for process art not product art, now I can just follow your links! It’s funny how they go through phases – we’ve had times where she has meticulously created pictures *of* things and her accuracy of depiction is amazing. But at the moment it’s definitely all about swooshing paint, mixing colours and just getting colour on things (hopefully including the paper!)

  5. Looks like J is having fun there – cute. I really enjoyed doing art with my kids when they were this age and stumbled across a lovely book called “Primary Art: It’s the Process, Not the Product” by MaryAnn Kohl. I think that you would like it – .

    On the subject of paint pots etc. we had the lidded pots, but my kids preferred using the inserts from things like Mr Kipling cakes – the ones with six spaces. Perfect mixing pots and you could throw them away at the end of a session.

    An easel is a great idea – and you can use it as a when they get older.

    1. That books is wonderful – I’ve visited MaryAnn Kohl’s blog recently and she has some of the homemade paint recipes up from another book which is also well worth visiting.

      Ohhhh and we used the cake cases as well but I’m on a diet at the moment so no cake cases to be found in this house LOL.

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