Using Watercolour with Children

waldorfpaintingWhen yellow found blue it called out 'Oh there you are! I was looking for you.' Then they laughed and threw themselves into each other's arms, and they were so happy that they turned as green as grass
Before I came into contact with Steiner education and Goethe I readily assumed that children preferred bright heavy acrylic paints that they could get all over the paper and clothes but after watching my sons and learning more I realised how beautiful and satsifying watercolour paints can be. "

The best way to introduce children to colour is to let them paint with colours dissolved in water, because colour in its liquid form best reveals its nature" (Painting with Children- Brunhild Muller). Its quite wonderful to give a child one colour and see them cover the page and delight in how the colours move (red paint really does move faster!). Older children will want to paint pictures and figures etc but the young child just wants to experience the colours without thought of form.

First of all it's best to buy proper watercolour paper- this allows the water to get wet without losing its form or tearing. You can either completely submerge the paper in water or use a sponge to wet both sides. Using a sponge make sure the paper has no bubbles in it and that it lies straight on either a painting board or table. Try to move the sponge in one direction from left to right.

Using either a water colour paint set or the Stockmar water colour paints allow your child to dip and paint. A note about the different types of paints. The Lyra watercolour paints are perfect for getting out quickly but you need to show your child how to thoroughly wet both the brush and the paint. If the paint isn't wet enough it can be frustrating for the child who can't get enough colour onto his brush.

The Stockmar watercolour paints are probably the best for young children. Expensive, yes, but they last a long long time (I've had our set for years) because you only take out the smallest amount of paint and add it to a jar of water. It takes a little guess work to get the measurements right. We sell paint holders and jars with lids to keep the paints fresh for longer than the session. Dragonflytoys now sells the sponges and paint brushes needed for a successful watercolour experience.

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