DIY Easel Painting with a Tot

I'm a very artistic person. I love making things. Making things with my kid is high on my list. It's been a major bummer that Everett is still very prone to putting things in his mouth. The only art we've done so far was the Ziploc painting and a little bit of coloring. He has tried to eat our crayons a few times.
A photo posted by Kayleigh (@kayleigh.tx) on
He's finally starting to hesitate before he puts things in his mouth, and he's listening when I say, "that does not go in your mouth." Finally! We put paintbrushes in his Easter basket, and today seemed like a great day to try them out.
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I forgot to pick up an easel the last time I was at Ikea, so I had to make do. Have you seen their easels? They are dirt cheap ($14.99) and very sturdy. We bought one as a Christmas gift for my nephews a few years ago. Anyway, I could totally have run to the store or ordered one on Amazon, but I had what I needed at the house to make something temporary. If you don't have an Ikea near you, I've posted some alternative easel choices at the bottom.

I grabbed a thick posterboard / foamboard, a regular piece of poster paper (any kind of paper would work fine, even printer paper), and two chip bag clips. It ended up being a little high for him, but I can turn it sideways next time.
We used tempera paint from the craft store (washable and non-toxic) not finger paints. Surprisingly he did not try to put it in his mouth!! He did touch the bristles and rub the paint between his fingers, but before he thought to put it in his mouth I showed him how to rub it right onto the paper. He loved that! Our art smock is from Ikea. When I took it off I did notice that some of the green paint had seeped through onto his belly, so we are in the market for something else. (They are actually meant for eating, so that may be why it wasn't think enough.)
The fat bulb paint brushes were great for his little hands. My only complaint is that when his hands got messy it made the bulb slick and hard to hold on to. The craft brushes I use have unfinished wood handles, so if you get messy the wood just absorbs the paint. Hopefully he just won't put his hands into it next time though, LOL.

Products (and alternatives) mentioned in this post:

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Be kind. I'm just a mom behind a computer wearing yoga pants with unwashed hair. -k