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|Helpful Painting tips for parents of small children ages 1-3. October 2, 2014
A must read for all parents before painting
We are constantly being asked if this is an age appropriate activity for a 1-3 year old. The answer is
always yes and no. Painting pottery is fun and age appropriate for every age. In our studio setting, not
always. We all know how short the attention span is for our 1-3 year olds. Even if the child has the ability
to stay on task longer, they can still get overwhelmed in our studio with so much to see, touch and do.
1. Everything Breaks! It is almost impossible for any child to not touch, this is especially important in a
pottery studio where everything in breakable. You really need to be right with your child the entire time.
No child is permitted to walk around our studio unattended at anytime. Some children are more
"grabby" than others, so before coming in, tell your toddler, no touching. We know you already do this,
and in our studio you will find yourself saying this over and over again as you walk around and look at all
First tip: Know exactly what you want to paint before you come in.
If it's a gift for grandma, or just an activity for your toddler, either YOU decide ahead of time, or discuss
with your child before you get here, the exact piece you want to paint when you arrive. Then reiterate it.
When you pull up in the parking lot before you get out of your car, remind your toddler, we are here to
paint Grandma a mug for her birthday and that is all we are painting today and when we get in the
store, you will sit at the table and get ready to paint while Mommy picks up the mug. This way your child
knows exactly what is expected of her and is ready and excited to paint the mug to give to Grandma.
When you walk in, you can go directly to a table and sit your child and all your belongings down, and
then go choose the mug to paint. Choose it and be ready to start painting within 5 minutes of arrival
without the stressful usual 15 minutes or more it takes to walk around looking at all the pottery to
choose from. Remember time is of the essence when it comes to a toddler (Another tip: It's always fun
and a good idea for mom to stop into the studio alone ahead of time just to walk around the store to
see all the great pieces we have If you can). We see it all the time, a mom comes in with her 2 year old
and starts to walk around to look asking over and over again, "What do you want to paint?" the toddler
sees a cup, and wants to paint that, then she sees a dog and wants to paint that, then she sees a bank
and wants to paint that, the whole time, the mom asking the two year old, "do you want to paint the
bank or the dog" then the toddler sees a car and wants to paint that, then she sees the basket of stuffed
animals and wants to play with those instead, and mom says, " I thought you wanted to paint the cup?"
and 20 minutes later... You get the idea. It can be very stressful, so know what you want to paint ahead
of time and immediately choose it. It's OK for mom to make this decision for the child. Choose the mug
for Grandma and spend the precious time painting it, instead of walking around in circles, choosing a
million things, you aren't actually going to paint, and keeping your child from picking up everything in
2. Now time for choosing colors! Yea fun! Colors, Paint! Another decision that is better for Mom to make
for the toddler, instead of going up to the wall of 100 colors and asking a 2 year old, what color do you
want to make Grandmas mug? Guess what she will choose? Pink! Yea or her favorite color, she probable
isn't even looking at the colors, I see mom standing there holding the toddler and saying you want Pink,
while the 2 year old grabs green and blue, and mom says, that's not pink I thought you wanted pink, this
is pink, do you want blue instead? Yea blue. Guess what? They love all the colors, and you know their
favorite color already, so just choose that to start with. One color at a time. Mom. Or else they will mix
them all up and Grandmas mug with be Brown.
Tip Number Two: Mom chooses colors for toddler, while she is sitting at the table with her mug eager to get started.
Walk up to the color wall and choose one color. Place it out on the tile palette and let her begin to paint. When she is
done with that color, in about 60 seconds, choose another color and place that out on the tile for her, and so on. If you
want her to use sponges to paint with, same idea, Mom picks a handful of sponges and lays them out on the table for
the child to pick up and paint with. In other words, let your toddler spend all of her precious attention span time
painting, not choosing paint and sponges and so on. Her task is to paint, and have fun making this beautiful gift for her
3. The "HELP" question. It has come to our attention that many parents come into our studio and expect to "help" their
child paint, free of charge. We are constantly asked, "If I help her paint do I get charged the studio fee?" The answer is
yes. If you paint, you pay. All painters are charged a studio fee. It is perfectly acceptable for two or more people to
paint one piece together, and each is charged the studio fee. We actually recommend this to all parents who come in
with their toddler to paint. For your first time, choose a piece that you will paint together. Mom really doesn't have time
to sit and paint her own piece the way she wants to with a toddler to look after. Remember the toddler will be finished
painting in about 15 minutes tops, thats all the time you can expect to have, and when the toddler is done, Mom is done
too. So unless you can paint your piece in 15 minutes, its best to choose one piece to do together. If you don't want to
be charged the studio fee, don't paint. Resist the urge to fill in all the white spots the toddler missed, its her piece, not
yours, and the white spots will be covered with a clear glaze that we put over the entire piece, so relax Mom, its OK.
Children are naturally artistic and very creative at all ages, and believe me; She already knows how to paint when you get
Tip Number Three: Know when your toddler is finished painting and wrap it up. Don't force the child to keep painting
when she is obviously done. Now its time to go. Don't let her get up and walk around the studio again picking up and
touching everything now with paint all over her hands. Don't worry about cleaning up your table, we do that. Say
goodbye to your pottery and check out with a happy, content toddler in tow. We see it happen so many times, where her
toddler was done 20 minutes ago and cant sit still waiting for mom to finish and instead does what all toddlers do, being
told "NO" every second and asked to sit and wait, then complete meltdown. Don't let this be you.
Tip Number Four: Buy pottery and paint supplies to take home to paint instead of a studio visit! This is the best way to
really enjoy painting with your toddler. You can pull out the paint and pottery anytime, and relax at home painting. Once
you are finished bring it back to us and we will clear glaze and fire it for the glazing/firing fee. No stress, just fun. We
highly recommend this to all parents of toddlers. We sell all pottery and supplies you need right here in our store and are
happy to answer any questions you may have.
Pottery painting is a fun family activity to be enjoyed by all ages. Making memories and pieces that are cherished by
everyone. Introduce your toddler to pottery painting the fun and stress-free way that you both will love.