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Supplying Open Ended  Materials for 2D Artworks: Stage 1

Kids' Paintings

​As a starting point you can supply food colouring as water paint for as little as $3.60 in small bottles that your children can dot paint with, without creating any mess at all. Or cheap paint sets can be bought for around $10 and the quality of the paint is reasonable.


It's important though to supply some reasonable quality paintbrushes ranging in size from fine to thick as this allows them to create quality work.

Simple ideas:

  • look at Australian aboriginal art to inspire dot painting

  • fold the paper and make butterfly paintings

  • use various sized pieces or types of paper to achieve different results.

  • use different types of paint: water, acrylic, tempera

  • use different brushes, rollers, sticks, printing media

  • add crayon or candles to create a wax resist painting

  • use a variety of black textas from fine to thick as overlays over dry paintings.

  • add collage and scissors to create a multi media artwork (N.B. ensure your child is educated about scissor safety)

Some Mathematical Language:

  • blend

  • light

  • lighter

  • lightest

  • dark

  • darker

  • darkest

  • red, crimson, pink

  • orange, salmon, apricot

  • blue

  • green

  • yellow. lemon

  • purple, lilac

  • white

  • black

  • primary colour

  • secondary colour

Some Language Linked to Materials and Technique

  • collage: paste, stick, piece, cut, trim, straight, curved

  • paint: line, solid, swish, press, hold, acrylic, oil, water

  • pencil drawing: trace, rule a line, rub, erase, shading

  • pastels: blend, rub, shade

  • paper: water colour (absorbent) craft (divide, fold) tissue, tracing, newsprint, cartridge, waxed, textured, cardboard, patterned

For Stage 2 of Open Ended Art Supplies go to Taking Kids to the Art Gallery:

Children love to create, and it has always amazed me how even the least confident artist can produce work they'll be really proud of, with some positive scaffolding from parents or teachers. This can take the form of supplying materials, some input regarding technique and the smothering of a child's efforts with confidence building encouragement.

If you allow children access to an area where they can regularly draw, collage or paint  they will become increasingly positive about the process, capable using a variety of media and become confident in their ability as a result.

And it's important for children to learn to be respectful of property as part of the process and develop their levels of responsibility cleaning up.

Some of the skills they will likely develop are:

  • increased hand eye coordination

  • increased hand strength

  • mathematical language linked to colour mixing and shades: lighter and darker

  • increased knowledge of colour blending (primary colours to secondary)

  • creativity and the joy associated with creativity

  • perseverance

  • refining & trial and error processes

  • learning specific techniques linked to the media being used

  • the ability to plan then create or not plan and create

  • self-esteem & confidence building

  • a knowledge of artists and their styles

Refer to Visiting an Art Gallery to learn more (below) Some of the art galleries that provide online tours are: The Louvre

Wheat Field with Cypresses
Art Book

Preschoolers in my class identified how Picasso's models were feeling and they loved the disjointedness of his artworks.


We discussed facial features and proportion, then many created their own Picasso inspired artworks. The results were incredible.

For more ideas on developing interests that build increasingly complex skills click on one of the links below.

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