Art with preschool children can be daunting. My daughter turned three last week, and while she loves arts and crafts, I always cringe when she asks to break out the paint. She's on a real cactus kick lately (who isn't?) so I thought maybe I could brave the mess and try some watercolors. Turns out this was a low mess, low stress, high payoff project that I will definitely try again with different stencils.
The first part of this project is to make a stencil. You could easily draw and cut out a simple stencil of some cacti (or any other object!) but since I have a Cricut handy, I made a stencil of 3 quick and dirty cacti on Photshop and had my robot servant cut them out.
I used an old sheet of cardstock as my stencil paper. Something thicker would be even better but since this project is just intended to be a one off, a sheet of cardstock works fine.
After the Cricut was done doing its thing, I lightly glued the stencil to a piece of watercolor paper. Computer paper works, but watercolor paper blends so much better, and if it's something you plan to keep long term, then why not go big.
My daughter used a sponge brush to fill in the cacti. She loved this. SO. MUCH. She dabbed green paint all over the cacti, then added in some blue. (I think a kid with more experience with watercolors could really have fun with this - rainbow blends, different colors for each cactus, etc.)
Once she had filled in the cacti, we took off the stencil!
The next, most terrifying step, is to add little faces to your pictures. Because, why not, right? So go ahead. Hand your three year old a Sharpie, right next to your light grey couch, and.. just pray.
When my girl was finished with the stencils she still wanted to paint, so we threw the cut-outs of the cacti onto a new sheet of paper and I let her have at it while I tidied up.
By this point I had already confiscated her water, so I just loaded her brush with water and didn't worry about rinsing her brush between colors. It looked excellent.
This whole project was super simple. I would rate it a 2/10 in terms of stress and cleanup (which is a WIN for me!)
If you try this project, please let me know by sharing in the comments!