Painting with toddlers

What started off a Q-tip painting quickly turned into full finger and body painting. This was Wy’s first time exploring painting with Q-tips.

I started by having Wy sit across from me. I showed him how to dip the Q-tip into the paint and then swirl it around on the paper. Wy watched with interest but he would not touch the paint or Q-tips.

I decided to have Wy come and sit in my lap instead. For some reason, while sitting in my lap, Wy was more willing to explore the idea. Wy was more interested in exploring the cup and the Q-tip at first. I knew that before we could move onto any painting, I needed to let Wy explore the materials first.

It wasn’t long before Wy was ready to try putting the paint on the paper. I held the cups and offered each color and  Wy dipped his own Q-tip in the paint and rubbed it on the paper. At this point, Wy was simply exploring the process. Exploring the process is part of developing the creative process.

Occasionally, Wy would decide to get up and walk away for a minute then he would come back and try the process out some more. He was progressively getting more interested in the marks he was making on the paper. I could see him focus more on the mark making and less on just wanting to explore the cups and Q-tips.

The final outcome doesn’t represent a rainbow or words or even an intended design. What the final outcome does represent is Wy’s successful first experience at exploring the process of painting with Q-tips!

By |2010-05-07T08:00:11+00:00May 7th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. nurul May 8, 2010 at 3:44 am - Reply

    I and friends are volunteer teachers in a village where some of children bring their siblings as well. Sometimes we are so absorbed in dealing with the kids and these babies just wandering around unattended. I am sure by learning these steps in dealing with twos (sometimes younger) they will have their own activity , Thank You Deborah, njs

  2. Danny May 8, 2010 at 11:06 am - Reply

    The result is so amazing, Deborah. I think they will able to make a piece of art, it begins from their confidence.
    This post reminds me how important to build the children’s confidence.
    Thx Deborah 🙂

  3. Diana (Diane) Maria May 8, 2010 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah,
    Exposing the child to new materials and allowing them to experience the creative process through their own exploration is my creed. By allowing Wy to walk away and return, he was able to experience the process at his own pace thus increasing his confidence. This post explains the importance of exploration. I agree with Danny who wrote of the importance of building confidence in children.
    .-= Diana (Diane) Maria´s last blog ..FIFTY YEARS IS A LONG TIME =-.

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