You can buy your mini Monet his own set of ready-to-use watercolor paints from the craft store, or you can create your own using tissue paper. Before you start the process, keep in mind that this is a messy art activity. You'll need non-colorfast tissue paper, which means that the color will bleed. While the color coming off of the tissue is what makes this activity so very artful, it's also what makes it super-messy. The color will stain your little one's clothes, your carpet or any furniture that it gets on. You'll also want to wash your child's hands immediately after the project to avoid having rainbow-hued hands for the next few days. If you're about to stop reading because the mess just sounds like way to much -- keep going. Yes, it's messy, but it's also a fantastically fun activity that your child will enjoy.
What You'll Need:
- Tissue paper: Only use tissue paper that will bleed when it gets wet. If it says non-bleeding or color-fast, it won't work for this activity. You'll also want to choose bright, dark or bold colors. Pastel pink sure is pretty, but it's far too light in this case.
- Paper: You can get fancy and choose real watercolor paper, or you can opt for regular old construction paper. Both will work well.
- Thin paintbrush
- Plastic or paper cups
- Prep your work area. I like to use cardboard (but up an old box) under the paper. The thick board keeps the watery paint from soaking through.
- Tear the tissue paper apart into hand-sized pieces (your child's hand size, that is). Let your little one have a ball, and keep your hands off while he tears the paper.
- Fill a cup (or you can use a leftover plastic container) with roughly an inch or two of warm water. Soak the tissue paper (one color per container) in the water. The longer it soaks, the more color it releases. If you're not seeing any color in the water either the tissue paper is too light (i.e, you're using a pastel) or it is color-fast.
- Your child has two options for painting. 1. He can dip a brush in the water and paint on the paper, or 2. he can use the water-soaked tissue itself to paint with. If you don't want him to have stained little fingers (which you probably don't), help him to lift the tissue pieces up with the brush. He can use the brush to drag the tissue across the paper or press it onto the surface. Use the brush to lift the tissue back up again. You'll see a colorful print that the tissue leaves behind.