As I've stated before in my blog, Oliver isn't that big into art yet. He'll scribble with crayons for a minute or so and then declare he's done. Our outdoor chalk activity didn't go well, and I assumed today's activity (watercolor painting) would have the same result. I wanted to give it a fair try, though.
I set the palate of watercolors and a cup of water in front of Oliver. We used a sheet of sticker printer paper that I had leftover from an activity last fall because it has a plastic backing. Then, I demonstrated the technique for him. I told him, "First, I dip the brush in water. Then, I dip the brush in color. Then, I put it on the paper!" I painted a line of red and handed him the brush.
Oliver was excited to learn something new. He took the brush and dunked it into the water, and then he selected a color (green). He scribbled on the paper, and then went back to the water. I think this was the longest he's ever enjoyed art projects. His favorite color definitely seemed to be green. He chose it four times. After green, his favorites were yellow, brown and purple.
I loved watching Oliver get into an artistic activity. It makes me look forward to the future when we can do all sorts of creative projects together. He painted for about 10 or 15 minutes, which is a record for him for artwork, and then he wanted me to do some. I painted him a monkey, which he loved, and then I painted a few letters of the alphabet. Oliver painted a few more squiggles and then announced he was done. Watercolors for the win!
I can't speak for all toddlers, but, for Oliver, painting seemed more fun than coloring. I think it's because there was more to learn and do. He really liked doing the technique of dipping in the water, getting color, painting a few lines, and then back again. For parents of toddlers who don't seem interested in coloring, I recommend watercolors. It was so fun! There is a cost to this activity, of course. A palate of kids' watercolors (the basic 8 color set) runs anywhere from $1-$3. If you take care of them, they should last a long time. Oliver barely made a dent in any of his paints. Of course, I remember when I was a kid, and all the colors would mix in with each other. I don't think think toddlers care too much about that, though.
Getting Oliver to be creative was a huge plus for me. The activity required little prep and clean-up. Other than the initial cost behind the supplies, I don't see a downside to watercolors at all. I give watercolor painting a solid A grade!