Art is Messy

by Kim Kuhn

Art is messy.  If you have a toddler in your house then you may think that’s an understatement.  Perhaps you have dreams of teaching art and art appreciation to your little ones, but have nightmares of paint dripping all over the floor, chalk being eaten by your two year old (that’s what one of mine did) or trying to scrape clay off the table.  I can’t give you magic cleaning solutions, but how about a few tips. 

  1. Make sure your children who are doing any kind of paint work wears a paint shirt.  Even when they are just using clay, I have them wear a paint shirt.  This helps reduce the arguments about which mediums need a covering and which don’t.
  2. At the end of the project, make sure everyone helps clean up.  There are quite a few things the little ones can help with like pouring the water from the cup of water with the paintbrushes, and putting the paints and other mediums away.
  3. Do your art outside.  My daughter loves to take her easel on our porch and paint there.  She also spray paints outside, but we cut up either newspapers or large brown paper bags and lay them down before her actual project can be painted.  After her project is done, the clean up with the newspapers and paper bags is easy.
  4. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.  Since toddlers love to get dirty and messy, go ahead and put a large piece of paper like butcher paper (you can get this at the grocery store) on the floor.  Then, you and your child can have fun finger painting and toe painting all over your “canvas.”  To make this even more fun, put some music on where you can paint dance on the canvas.

Don’t let a little messiness stop the creativity in your child.  Just find ways to make clean up easier and have fun!


If you have any suggestions for future articles, whether it’s for music or art, just let me know. You can leave your thoughts, comments or suggestions here on my feedback page. Thanks!

- Kim