Outdoor activities: Painting


I have a confession to make. As a homeschooling Mum it’s difficult to admit it, but I really don’t like to paint. That is, I like to paint, I just don’t like setting up painting for my children to do. It takes time to set up, creates heaps of mess and takes ages to pack up again, all for a few minutes of colourful fun.

In an effort to overcome this dislike and occasionally provide this apparently vital experience for my children, we have developed a method that works for us… occasionally….when I can mentally gear up for it.

I have some large packing boxes that I keep folded down flat. We set these up outside on the lawn with the top flaps folded shut to hold them together and the bottom flaps bent outwards to catch the drips. Now that the children are a little older they set up the whole experience pretty much by themselves. They cart out the boxes, taping paper on every single side, 2 per side so that each child gets several pages to do. The children pull out the paint pots and brushes and even mix up the colours from the prime colours we own. (It’s amazing how their knowledge of paint mixing, creating a variety of  shades etc. has developed when they do not have the option of prepared colours and have to mix their own.)

Off come the clothes and on go the painting shirts and we’re all set. I plop a bucket of water out on the grass with some cloths and hands are washed here, as well as the brushes once they are done. Pictures stay taped to the boxes until dry, eliminating paint splodges from all over my clothes drying rack and everyone has a ball. They even seem to enjoy the clean-up time. If they are really covered in paint I line them up and spray them down with the hose before sending everyone inside for an early shower.

The children get to paint, I get to …. not do anything much at all except supervise and everyone enjoys the process. Obviously the weather must be fine but in winter we use tablet water colours at the table. These are far less drippy and messy and I can cope with them inside far better than liquid paints. My children will not be artistically deprived or have to see counsellors to work through the fact that they never got to paint and I don’t feel guilty when I see all those arty blogs about painting!
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One Response

  1. Thank you for your honesty Ang – I love to paint, but like you, I find the whole process of getting it all out and packing it all away such a drag – and sometimes it only keeps their interest for such a short time!! Like the box idea – might try that. I have also taped a long piece of butchers paper to the fence (it’s an old wooden one) and the kids enjoy that too. (Drips straight onto the grass.)

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