Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Create an Animal" Painting Project

This project was a little bit of a whim for us.  I had a doctor's appointment midday and was planning on dropping the kiddos off with my dad and stepmother so that I wouldn't have to take them with me.  But we had an hour and a half or so to kill after getting ready and before leaving, and I know Natalie's been really wanting to paint, so...

I found this project in a craft book that we have.  It's pretty simple.  Basically, you draw a paw or a tongue or a tail shape, cut it out, and glue it to a piece of paper.  Then you give the paper to the child and let them finish the animal.  I told the kids that they could make a real animal or they could use their imagination and come up with a pretend animal.  

Natalie didn't really know where to begin.  I anticipated this, so I made an extra picture with a tongue shape and used mine to draw the rest of a dog.  Which seemed to give Natalie just the direction that she needed.  Daniel didn't want any direction at all.  I gave him the paper and he just went for it. 

First I let them draw out their animal with colored pencils.  I forgot to take pictures of this part, but these pictures that I took after they started painting show you what they came up with.  This is Natalie's:

And Daniel's (the rocks are for holding his paper down since it was windy this morning):

After they finished drawing, I let them use watercolors to paint the animals.  Watercolors, by the way, are my new favorite medium for kids.  Not only are they super easy as far as clean-up goes, but they also allow kids to put a lot of paint on the paper without it immediately turning into a brown muddy mess.  In fact, I'm often surprised by just how much I like the finished product.  Even Daniel, who just turned 2, does well with them.  Well...with some guidance.  At first, he was just spreading water around on his paper.  But by the end today, he seemed to get the idea.

 Daniel decided his was a kangaroo.  You might notice that he isn't wearing pants in this picture.  Here's another tip: don't let your toddler paint anything in white shorts.  It will inevitably go badly.

And here's Natalie's finished picture.  I actually really love the way hers turned out.  It's a fish, she says, and the paw is for hopping along the ocean floor.

This was a lot of fun and a super easy project!  It's a great one for filling up an hour here or there, especially since it doesn't take a lot of set up or clean up the mess.  And if you haven't bought a set of watercolors for your kids, do it!  They're awesome :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. What a great project. I think it is wonderful to give your children a creative outlet - even if it is a bit messy at times. This is something I could see my daughter's art teacher doing with a group. So fun to see what the littles come up with.

    1. Thanks! We did have a lot of fun with this one. I get a little stressed out with some projects (fingerpaints comes to mind), but I think you're right: it's so good for kids to get creative, even if it is messy. And boy, do they love it :)

  2. What a sweet project! So cute! I love seeing where their imaginations take them!

    1. I know! It's fun to not give them much direction and run with whatever they come up with.

  3. What a fun project! I'll have to try it out with my son.

    1. I'm sure he'll have a great time! It's pretty fun to see what they come up with :)


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