Watercolor experiments with kids 2-3 years old



*Tray of some sort
*Mixed Media paper. Canson’s mixed media paper has been perfect for our projects here. It’s a mixed media paper and holds up well to a lot of water, and all sorts of toddler mark making.
*Brushes (the larger, thicker size)
*Spectra Art Tissue (Bleeding Art Tissue)
*Watercolor crayons. I used these.
*Scissors (optional)


How we did it:

1. Get our your tray, and wet the paper. You’ll want all of the fibers to be wholly damp, so a spray bottle can work if you are on the go, but if you have access to a sink, turn it on and put the paper under the faucet. Flip it over and wet the other side too before laying it down in the tray.

2. Watercolor crayons. Leave one on the tray and let them see what it does. With my really little visitors, I sometimes let the crayons soak standing up in a cup of water about 1/2 inch deep to soften the tip for a a few minutes so the magic of the material is immediately apparent. For older kids, you can leave the water out and let them dip the crayons. For kids even a little older than that…experiment with how different lengths of time in the water will yield different results.

3. Tissue paper. I precut shapes and distributed. Otherwise, already wet fingers will have a frustrating time separating pieces. It’s important for this project to get the type of tissue paper that “bleeds” so the color will run and mix when you brush water on top. The tissue paper will adhere itself to the wet paper and stick until the water absorbs, the paper dries and finally peels/falls off. Give any paper that needs water another spritz or two at any time if your tissue paper isn’t sticking.

4. Everyone gets a container of water and a brush. The non-spill cups are great, and so are the brushes with bells on for attention spans that may wain. It makes a room immediately happy, and best of all, even the most timid of artists will reach out for some sounds. Bells are easy to thread, but if you don’t happen to have any bells lying around the house…little washers from a tools box, a small key or…anything metal and jingly with a pipe cleaner does the job just as well. Dip the brush in the water, apply to tissue paper shapes…the colors will run, and mix.

5. When everyone is done, let it dry. The tissue paper mostly flakes off on it’s own, then wha-la!


IMG_1807(waiting for our work to dry)