Creative Tuesday: When To Start Real Paints

There are so many wonderful activities for babies and toddlers to introduce them to safe, edible and fun finger paint and homemade paint.

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The question I am often asked by parents is when it is safe to introduce *real* i.e. commercial paint, especially such as tempura and acrylic.


In my opinion, you have to by your child’s cues. I usually start with something like Crayola washable paints which are easy to manage and they are safe and non-toxic. Both my daughters started paints after 1 year old when I saw their interest. I use sponge brushes and wide paint brushes for tots as they are easy to hold and splash the paint on paper.

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From around 2.5-3 I introduce them to tempura and then acrylic paints. Acrylic paints are the more difficult to paint with so at first we use them for decorating objects (shells, rocks, jars etc). And later I show them how brushstroke to create beautiful designs.

Before my older daughter turned 4 I used to closely control her painting activities. It isn’t only about safety but also about watching over how she mixes paints – at some point she would just dump all paints together and keep applying strokes over and over until tge paper tore. Now she is capable of working with paints alone and she creates adorable pieces which we collect and upcycle later.

I hope my ideas were helpful for you. Enjoy creating with your children!!

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