Initially, I steered clear of water coloring as a whole because of the issue of mixing the paints. However my friend and former preschool teacher very smartly advised me to “just rinse them off”. Ding!
Then, the process itself has driven me batty. The chanting of water, paint, paper, water, paint, paper to try to encourage them to follow the process to get a result. But, if you start with a really wet palette of paint, it isn’t as necessary.
Once I was able to let go a lot, I knew I had to do it at playgroup and be the source of calm for other moms as well. Because water coloring really does create beautiful creations! And the fact that there is a process, when they are ready to do it, is beneficial. In terms of mess, it is pretty clean, the worst aspect is an occasional cup spill. In fact, water coloring has now become my go-to painting of choice at my house. I save them and turn them into presents and birthday cards. I may even use them as gift tags for Christmas this year.
I set up each cookie sheet with a dampened water color set, a piece of white card stock and a paint brush and invited them to explore. I had water cups on the table for them to use and was quick to offer another piece of paper when they had finished their current masterpiece. Some children mixed the paints, some didn’t follow the process, some barely even painted. But they had a blank piece of paper to create with, a new way of painting to check out and the freedom with which to do it.