A Wonderful & Safe Medium For Young Artists: Painting With Kool-Aid Rocks!

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Captain at 22 months painting with kool-aid outside on a sunny day

Want a better use for cheap packets of kool-aid than mixing it with a ton of sugar and drinking it?  Mix it up as safe watercolors for your little ones!  I couldn’t believe how simple and easy it was to do, and it really works well.  Kids really love to explore art at very early ages by drawing and coloring.  Why not give them a chance to paint too?  Before Captain turned two, she had already done a lot of coloring and drawing, playing with clay, and finger painting.  She saw me use paintbrushes when she was about 20 months old and wanted them for herself.  I couldn’t deny her!  I searched the house for something she could paint with that wouldn’t hurt her if she suddenly popped the brush into her mouth or got it into her eyes.  I found some old packets of kool-aid (the ones that don’t have the sugar already added) in grape, lemon, orange and raspberry. I mixed them up with just enough water to make “watercolors”. They smelled good to her, but I told her that they were not to eat and she NEVER tried to eat the paint.  I used the plastic tray from a box of crackers for a little “palette”. I taped down two pieces of paper at a time onto a table that was low enough that she could stand at it. I don’t think first time painting should be in a chair.  I could see how much she wanted to move around the table and be up over the top of it.  It’s exciting! Another cool thing to do is to tape paper to a post, or outdoor wall, so that kids can stand up and paint “easel-style”.  It just adds more to the ever-evolving experience of art, in my opinion. Keep a glass of water nearby for rinsing the brushes and a rag for little wipe-ups.

This early art-experience was such a cool foundation for so much more painting, and more mediums, to come!  She got to brush up (hello pun!) against methods, tools, and ideas, that artists of every age use, like a palette, real brushes, imperfections (there are spills sometimes, paper can get too wet etc.) and it made her feel very proud of herself. Okay, here is something else cool about kool-aid painting: You can make scratch-n-sniff works of art!!!!  Yes, the fruity smells do wear off after a couple of weeks, but it is fun to make simple shapes, like a sun, and then scratch them to sniff the lemony sweetness!  The thicker you mix the kool-aid paint, the more scent your “scratch-n-sniff” artwork will have.  Fun!

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Tape the paper down onto the table to avoid frustrating paper-slippage 

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Oh, it is fun Mom!

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She called this one her “Bird on a Branch” 

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Captain got used to painting with the kool aid and then quickly moved on to washable kids’ paints.  It wasn’t very long before she tried her first acrylics!

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Kids love to see their artwork displayed, no matter what age they are.  This was our first “wall of art”.  We used to regularly switch out the pieces for new ones.  I’m so glad I took this photo to remember the beginnings of so many wonderful works of art!

I highly recommend purchasing an artist’s smock for children.  An oversized tee-shirt works okay, but my kiddo tends to dive right in with paints and other materials, and I like to protect her clothing.  We had a Young Artist Smock, which sells for $7.78 on Amazon. I liked this smock better than the “apron style” because it has long sleeves (for messy art!), slips on easily, and has a loose back, with a strip of velcro to close it quickly.  These smocks come in only one size, which fit most preschoolers, and I only wish that they made them in the next size up!

I hope you enjoy this style of painting with your little ones.  If you do any kool-aid painting, I would love to hear about it here on kartwheels!

Cheers and fruity goodness to all,

Karen

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Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “A Wonderful & Safe Medium For Young Artists: Painting With Kool-Aid Rocks!

  1. I just did some Kool-Aid painting myself with a class last month at the museum. Our theme for the class was food art. The colors are bold and they smell SO good. It’s a great sensory experience! We drew with oil crayons first and then used the paints.
    FUN FACT: Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, NE- they have a festival celebrating every year.

    • It’s funny, because I wrote this post yesterday thinking of kool-aid painting as being a thing of the “past” because Captain likes acrylics and other kinds of watercolors so much now. I need to offer them up to her again! I think the oil crayons, paper and some packets of kool-aid that she can mix herself would be a welcome project. Thanks for writing and for sharing the Fun Fact about Kool-Aid!

  2. Anonymous

    Wonderful project with the littles! Who would want to drink that stuff anyways? 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    How fun! I will try this!

  4. Anonymous

    WONDERFUL TIP . AND I LOVED THE PHOTOS !!! ( THIS IS THE VERY FIRST TIME I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO OPEN KARTWHEELS.) KIDS COMING THIS WEEK , SO , LOOKING FORWARD TO TRYING THIS .

    • Debbie, I’m so glad you are here! I’ll write soon and would love to hear how the kook aid painting goes! xo!

      • Debbie*

        COMPANY HAD TOPOSTPONE , SO DIDN’T GET TO TRY THIS YET … BUT SPRING HAS SPRUNG ON RAINBOW HILL , SO ANYTIME WILL BE A FUN TIME . THANKS AGAIN FOR THIS GREAT TIP.

  5. Julie

    Great idea!! I’m taking notes for when my babe is old enough! 🙂

  6. She looks like she’s having so much fun I may give it a try myself. 🙂

    • Hey there blackandwrite! If you do some kool-aid painting, I’d love to see it! Have a great day, and thanks so much for writing!
      Karen

  7. Love this idea! It’s also great for play dough, of course.

    • Thanks for writing, and it is good to color and scent play dough, which is the one thing that Captain will try to get a nibble of 🙂

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