Painting Ideas for Elementary Students | The key to learning


Painting is one of the fundamental means of expression of humanity, and this activity, started in kindergarten, should continue at all levels.

Painting with opaque watercolors is a major artistic experience that should occur frequently in order to develop children’s confidence in their ability to express ideas through painting. Such pictures can tell a story or can be non-objective arrangements of colors and shapes that appeal to students.

Paints and painting supplies

Paints used in school by young children are generally soluble in water. Everything can be called watercolor, but there are two main types.

Opaque water color: It is called opaque because, when used at the right consistency, it masks the surface it is painted on. It is known by various names – showcard, poster or tempera painting. This paint is more suitable for young children than transparent watercolor because it is more easily controlled and it allows to paint one color on another to meet the immediate need of the child. It comes in liquid or powder form.

Liquid: This form is supplied in a variety of colors in pint jars. Mix the contents of the jar well while stirring. Test the paint before using it. If it is too thick, it will crack and peel when dry. If it is too thin, it will not cover properly. When it appears too thick to brush off easily, gradually add water and mix thoroughly until you reach the desired consistency. Liquid tempera contains a preservative and will remain in good condition if kept moist and well covered. To store paint that has been opened, add a little water and wipe down the rim of the jar before putting the lid back on. Stir again before using it. It is the most commonly used form of opaque watercolor in these grades.

Powder: The dry form is supplied in one pound packs. The dry powder can be stored indefinitely. It is generally less shiny than liquid tempera. Prepare it according to the instructions on the package. The following suggestions may be helpful: Use a wide-lidded jar half-filled with paint powder. Gradually add the water, stirring well. Cover the mixture and let sit overnight. Then drain most of the excess water and stir again. Add more water if necessary. A drop of clove oil can help prevent a bad smell. A teaspoon of liquid tempera or a little powdered paste can help bind the color to the paper. This paint will not keep for very long after being mixed with water.

Transparent water color: It is said to be transparent because the color of the paper shows through and changes the color of the paint. The watercolor box contains eight small colored pans. It is generally not recommended for children of this age because technical control problems can make it difficult for young children to use.

Distribution of tempera paint

Reserve the original jar to provide paint in smaller containers for children’s use. The paint should be provided to children of the appropriate liquid consistency and in sufficient quantity and colors for the particular artistic experience. Various methods meet various needs. Experiment with juice boxes, milk cartons, muffin tins, etc. Distribute the paint in the way that best suits your situation.

One method is to use pallets, which are made from a folded shackle label and are suitable for individual use when colors are limited. Using a plastic squeeze bottle or spoon, spread small amounts of very thick paint. Renew the paint as needed. Pallets are folded and discarded at the end of the lesson.

For more information on the art program for elementary school students, visit

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