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A Cleaner Way to Paint: Using Paint Sticks with Toddlers!

Montessori Toddler Art Paint sticks  Otto 22 months at How we Montessori

Do you know about Paint Sticks? Until last week I hadn't heard of them!! These are paint sticks with real tempera paint, they are not pastels or crayons. Paint sticks are a convenient, quick and easy way to involve children in painting without the mess and preparation of usual paints. Paint sticks may lack the sensory experience of using squishy liquid paint but they are better suited to using inside or while travelling. They are a good idea for playdates or parties when you don't know how the other parents feel about mess, or when you don't have access to water or hand washing facilities. No water, cups or brushes needed, no dripping, no spilling. I've found these almost mess free, Otto gets a little on his fingers if he touches or scratches at the paint but it easily wipes off. I still put protection on our table but it would easily wipe clean too. Paint sicks would be ideal for parents who just can't take mess! 

Montessori toddler paint sticks at How we Montessori  Otto 22 months

The paint sticks are a solid tempera paint. They are soft and buttery, they feel like lipstick. They are so smooth, they just glide on, it's luscious. The paint goes on much more generously and thicker than crayons or pastels, which is good for toddlers. The paint dries within seconds. The child does not have to press hard so they do not put a hole in the paper, and the paper does not get wet, the child can hang it or walk with it without any drips! They do not get paint all over their hands or up their arms. Our paint sticks are the chunky variety and twist up and down, like a glue stick. They provide good feedback, if the child presses hard they get more paint on the paper, if they press lightly there is less paint. The paint goes easily on wood, canvas and paper. I wish that all parents and teachers, especially children's art teachers, could try these and see them for themselves.

Montessori Toddler Art Paint sticks  Otto 22 months at How we Montessori

I've put our paint stick on our outdoor child size table in a wooden box for my three children (11, 8 and 1yr) to use. But these would work well presented on a Montessori style tray with paper, you could start with just one or two colours and put them on your child's art shelves. Please note these are rated 3ys+ which I believe is due to the small parts of the lids. Supervision is required. You can remove the lids before presenting them to the toddler but be sure to put them back on, if left out all day the paint sticks will dry up slightly, but this can be fixed by wiping them gently. My toddler (22 months) can get the lids on and off but needs help twisting the paint stick up. I've found the colours vibrant and vivid, much more so than with crayons or pastels. I put these out during Otis' (8yrs) play date yesterday and the older children loved them too. 

I'm always observing my children painting and creating. Can you see Otto's developing skills, he mostly paints/draws/scribbles horizontally from side to side but has just started going vertically, up and down and he draws a few dots and dashes! Love toddlers art!

Montessori Toddler Art Paint sticks  Otto 22 months at How we Montessori

In our home paint sticks won't replace liquid paint, but they are a fantastic addition to our children's art supplies, especially for indoors and on rainy days!!

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