Inside: It looks a little crazy seeing indoor painting activities…but it works! Here are my tips for smooth sailing with painting.
Ever wonder how people do indoor painting activities without losing their minds? I’ve got the answers.
I am all about indoor painting. Well, actually, I’m all about the fact that I live in a not-so-outdoor activity friendly place and that means, 9 months of the year: activities are inside. Even painting.
It’s so easy to look at painting activities you find online and think “Awesome! I’ll wait until Summer and do this outside.” But you don’t need to think that way.
In fact, doing the opposite can actually be really fun and beneficial.
Why would anyone WANT to paint inside?
Let’s be honest. This isn’t something I set out to always do. I don’t love having impulsive toddlers just inches away from my white couch. These are not the kinds of thrills I’m looking for in my life.
But it’s the reality of my life.
If I waited on the weather, my kids would only paint from June to August. I can’t do that to them.
So I had to teach myself (and them) to be indoor artists.
First: it’s all about seeing the big picture. The set up. Let’s cover all the bases, and by bases I mean, carpet and children. And have the right tools for the job.
The low down on my indoor painting activities set up
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That supply list is intentional. Here’s why I pick those items:
SHOWER CURTAIN LINER: Get yourself a toddler tarp aka a $5 shower curtain liner that makes wiping up spills a snap. It can even go right in my washing machine.
WET WASH CLOTH: I always keep multiple wet wash cloths at the ready to clean up drips, slips, and spills. The liner makes it even easier to make sure no one stands in paint.
BIG PAPER: Kraft paper is your friend because it’s giant. It’s a giant space. Tiny papers cannot contain a toddler artist. Kraft paper can.
NO-SPILL PAINT CUPS:I always get asked about my No-Spill Paint Containers – “Do they actually work?” 100%, yes. I cannot imagine painting life without them. The paint stays fresh, the paint doesn’t spill, and the color coded brushes keep things from mixing.
SMOCKS: Smocks are my answer to “We can’t be naked all the time” – and I really love having them. I actually DON’T love my kids painting naked when they’re inside and I’ll tell you why.
But here’s the real reason I love indoor painting.
Indoor painting activities teach my kids A LOT.
Anyone can take a kid outside and let them go hog wild making a giant painting mess while totally naked.
It takes a lot of parent patience, kid self-control, and every one awareness to be able to paint inside.
When my kids are painting inside, they have to keep things under control. They learn things like how to wipe off the brush, how to control their strokes, and how to keep the paint on the paper.
Outside, my kids will paint their whole naked bodies.
Inside, they are aware of their clothes and the house around them: they make sure to wipe off and mind the paint that drips (this is why we always have a wet wash cloth AND the shower curtain liner down).
When my kids head off to school, they won’t be able to do art projects outside, naked, and with total freedom. I love being able to show them they are capable of painting inside without a mess, within boundaries, and still have so much fun.
Plus – and here’s a big honest one – when my kids paint inside, I’m much more present. My phone is away. I’m all eyes and ears. Outside, I don’t need to be nearly as vigilant.
Indoor painting activities are actually FINE
But like all things with toddlers, it takes teaching, it takes practice, and it takes organization. I can’t just throw this together without thinking.
I know a lot of parents worry that by letting them do a project on the wall like this, that their toddlers will want to paint all the walls. Kids are smart. They get context. Just because they can dump and pour water in the bath tub, doesn’t mean they’re going to do it at the table. They know the difference.
I hope you’ll try indoor painting with your toddler – and I hope you see that it really is fine! There’s no reason to put away the painting supplies just because the weather is bad…