Did your toddler find a pen and draw on your walls, furniture, curtains, or maybe even your pet? Are you afraid they will destroy everything in sight? Here is my advice on how to turn your child’s new “destructive” behavior into art:
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- If your baby or toddler drew on something – CONGRATULATIONS! Your child is curious and has discovered a new tool to play with. This is the PERFECT time to introduce art supplies and show them how and where to use them. Congratulate your child, too. Tell them you are proud of them for trying to make marks on a new surface.
- If your older child draws on things it’s usually to get attention or express a big emotion, so the best thing to do is to provide a safe environment where they can express creativity. Breath. Your child is not trying to destroy anything. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They are learning how to create.
- Explain to your child (big or small) why it is not OK to draw where they did and show them how to take it off. If they drew with a pencil, give them an eraser and show them how to erase. If they drew with a marker, pen or paint, use things like a Magic Eraser, Goo Gone, lemon essential oil or bicarb and white vinegar mix (depending on the surface and materials used). For safety reasons, I wouldn’t let the child use those themselves; But make sure they are watching you. Also, clean up the unwanted marks right away otherwise it will attract more and more mark-making. Here is my proof:
- As tempting as it might be, do not hide your pens, markers, pencils, etc. Children will find them. And if you don’t teach them how and where to use them, they will use them anywhere and everywhere.
- So, first thing to do now is to set up a dedicated space in your house – a safe place just for making art. If you don’t know how to do that or what to get, read my Setting up and Art Studio for Kids post.
- Once they are all set, make art supplies like Washable Markers or Washable Paint and quality paper easily accessible. No Kraft paper! Your goal is to offer more interesting surfaces than your leather couch, beautifully varnished bed heads or bathroom tiles.
- Once you set up the art studio, let your child experiment as much as they want in this space. If they try to draw anywhere else, always redirect them to their art studio. Until they learn, avoid letting them use supplies outside of their art space. However, in their art studio, allow them to experiment with art materials any way they like.
- If they want to draw on furniture, let them draw on their art table/chairs/storage. This way, once again, they have their own furniture to draw/paint on so they will be less likely to ruin yours. Here is Adèle’s table top:
- If they like drawing on walls, let them use an easel. Do not attach paper, chalkboard nor whiteboards to the wall. The idea is to discourage the child to use the wall – you wouldn’t want them to mistake your friend’s wallpaper for a paper to draw on or a dark coloured wall at a store for a chalkboard.
- If they want to try drawing on the floor, get a mat to protect the surface in their studio and put a big piece of paper for them to draw/paint on. But, avoid reading Olivia by Ian Falconer for some time or they might just want to try copying a Jackson Pollock. ;)
- Don’t have the time or patience to deal with cleaning-up? No problem. AquaDoodle mat is an amazing mess-free drawing toy. Just lay it out, fill the “marker” with water and let creativity flow (no pun intended :)). Hours of mess-free fun which is so light and compact that you can take on a picnic, camping, airplane or to the beach.
- For drawing on windows – Washable Window Crayons.
- And if your child’s favourite color is blue and they tell you every day that they will paint everything inside/outside the house blue (including your neighbour’s cat) – don’t be afraid of these “threats.” Let them. 😉
Have you tried any of these suggestions? If they worked, let me know which ones. Tag me on Instagram as @Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play and use the #Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play hashtag.
We love seeing your creations!