Art at One Year Old

At 12 months, Moon is eager to use a utensil at mealtimes. I interpreted this tool use as an indicator that she may be interested in using a tool with art materials too.


I offered Moon a brush and red watercolor at the table, where her sister was already painting.



Next time I’d like to be more intentional and set up the watercolor on the floor so that she can move more comfortably around it.




I have been curious about the Crayola Slick Stix since I read about them here. Since Moon tastes everything right now, these hard-cased oil pastels by Crayola seemed worth a try.



Greysen has regular access to oil pastels, so I was hesitant to purchase another type of oil pastel, especially one made specifically for children. I expected them to be of lesser quality than those marketed toward artists.


They were so incredibly smooth, and Moon’s marks were incredibly vibrant. My only regret is buying this five-pack of primary colors instead of the wider range of 12 colors. I’m more than a little surprised that I liked these so much.




Apologies for the photo quality, as I’ve misplaced my camera. Fingers crossed that I’ll find it soon!

Including Infants in Traditions

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.                                                                  -Susan Lieberman

Even though this is our second holiday season with a little one, Mike and are are still trying to establish some family traditions.  The one criteria that we are trying to uphold is for the tradition or activity to allow for the girls to be protagonists.

Painting pumpkins is a simple and appropriate way for the little ones to be active participants in some Halloween fun. Last year, I offered Greysen blue & lavender paint as a contrast to the orange of the pumpkin.

This year, I was inspired by Jean at the Artful Parent to use black paint on our pumpkins.

The Right to Use High Quality Materials

I chose to offer the girls acrylic paints so that the paint wouldn’t wash off should it rain as it could have with other types of “children’s paint.”  I love to use high-quality art mediums such as acrylics because the experiences are qualitatively different than lesser paints. Acrylics spread smoothly, and the results are bright and bold. Since acrylic can stain clothing, I covered the girls in their smocks. Greysen still somehow managed to get some paint on her diaper, however!

I poured a blotch of black paint on a small pumpkin for Moon, and she immediately rubbed the pumpkin, coincidentally spreading paint around the pumpkin.

I set up black acrylic, silver glitter paint, and paintbrushes for Greysen. The glitter paint was completely covered up by the black, so in the end it wasn’t really visible on the final painted pumpkin.

We set it outside that evening, and went outside the following afternoon to look at it again. We were surprised to find that the portions that had been painted were cooked by our warm California sun! Basically, any area that had been painted black and faced the sun had sunken in.

The pumpkin was still whole, but we were so curious as to what was going on inside the pumpkin. Though we were originally not going to carve the pumpkin because Greysen and Moon could not participate meaningful, we eventually decided to cut it open to see what was going on inside.

I didn’t get a picture of the it, but the pumpkin was totally fine inside. Even though the pumpkin flesh underneath the painted portions was soft it was otherwise okay. Regardless, I think we will stay clear of black paint next year!

As far as traditions go, I imagine as the girls skills and interests develop and change over the year so will our traditions. Now, what can Greysen help cook for Thanksgiving?

Watercolor . . . The First Paint

Infancy is a time of discovery, a time when practically every experience is a new one, with so many new ideas and materials for infants to digest! As such, I’m always on the lookout for interesting play experiences with the familiar so that children can play, perhaps, beyond the discovery stage.

Group Care

In the classroom, I have offered watercolor to the infants before other types of paint because water is a familiar sensory experience. Watercolors offer the possibility that children may notice the novel aspect of it – color! Watercolor is therefore my favorite first paint to offer infants.

At Home

I also want Greysen to have an uninterrupted art experience, one where my daughter is not distracted by reminders to not eat the paint. Greysen is one year old, but I wish I would have offered watercolor paint for her to play with sooner!

Since she indicated a preference for brushes when we painted with acrylic paint, I offered her brushes to use with watercolor.

Red Watercolor

I prefer liquid watercolor to watercolor cakes for infants and toddlers, as the paint is easier for the children to access. When liquid watercolor mixes, the color change is very visible to the children.  Best of all, since they are already liquid, the watercolor can be set up in bowls or shallow tubs for the infant or toddler to play with, sans brush.

I bought red, blue, and yellow liquid watercolor from Discount School Supply, which can be seen here:
Colorations Liquid Watercolor Paint 8 oz.
Though they have MANY colors, I figured that we could make a fair number of colors with these primary colors.

I also bought a heavy-weight large piece of watercolor paper for painting. This paper is ideal because it can get pretty soaked and won’t fall apart.