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Friday, February 24, 2012

Paint with Water Books & 16 month olds...

I remember paint with water books very distinctly from my childhood. I LOVED them! I made it my mission to find them so my girls would have the opportunity to make the pre-colored sheets of paper come to life by simply running a wet paintbrush over the colors, just as I had done so many years ago.

I think I hyped myself up too much.

First off, I couldn't find the "Paint with Water" books in any of the stores in town, so I had to resort to Amazon. I love Amazon, I do, but next time, tell me that there are only 20 pages in a book that I am about to pay $6.50 for, will ya? I was expecting these HUGE paint with water coloring books, and instead got these two measly 20 page a piece coloring a combined cost of about $13.

It's okay, I thought to myself....I am sure they have improved these since I was little and I bet the pages are awesome! The girls are going to love it! And I will have some art for my fridge! YAY!

There was psych up #2.

The pages did appear cooler (brighter, more vivid colors, fun designs, etc.), but I let the girls "paint" pictures out of the little people book today and I was not impressed. Honestly, neither were the girls. The paper is thin, so when it gets wet, it tears easily. Livvy ripped her paper within a couple minutes of starting the activity, then was handing me pieces of dripping wet colored paper for the next several minutes. Ugh.

We haven't tried the Lisa Frank book yet (in all fairness, it got awesome reviews by comparison), but the girls just weren't digging this painting activity. I think they will do well with this eventually, they just aren't there yet. And I thought I would get more for the cost of the coloring that was kind of a bummer too.

Here's an overview of the activity so you can give it a try with your little ones though! We are definitely going to try it again...maybe in a month or two...

Total prep time for activity: 30 seconds (tape picture to tray and get water and paintbrush)

Total time spent doing activity: 5 minutes...bummer...

Clean up time: 30 seconds (Good! I'm glad there wasn't much clean up since it wasn't an activity that they loved!).

One of the reasons I chose to hunt down the paint by water books was because of the "no mess" feature. The other was the ease of use...I figured that the girls would be able to complete the activity with little effort. I didn't count on the pages getting wet and ripping. In brainstorming after the fact, perhaps it would behoove us to tape the paint with water sheets to a piece of construction paper, then tape the construction paper to the trays. Perhaps that would work!

Have you done this activity with your kids? Do they like it? Love it? Hate it?
Can you think of any other ways to improve this activity? I really think the girls will enjoy it, I think that maybe I just jumped the gun a bit and they may be a bit too young yet =).

As always, your thoughts and suggestions are welcome!

Until next time-


  1. Mine really loved those 'Water Wow' books - they come with a special pen-brush and the pages can be used over and over again. Adam found one at Target, and we loved it so much, that I had to go online to buy more. They were great for bringing to restaurants and cartrips - same concept as the paint with water books except easier and reusable. :) Kind of the same as aqua doodle too. :)

    1. Watch out google, here I come! I hadn't heard of "water wow" books before! They sound great! Oh yeah, anything you can bring with to restaurants and cartrips to maintain the kiddos attention for a bit is worth it's weight in gold!!! And I really like the reusable aspect...brilliant!

  2. I'm glad you tried it! I was wondering about this! Sounds like its a flop.

    I've been collecting supplies to start contact paper crafts.

    Another no mess craft that I've read about and tried is the one where you put oil and paint in a ziplock. They can squish and trace and all sorts of stuff. You can hot glue the ziplock shut or double bag it. You can use painters tape or whatever to keep it on the high chair or work area.

    Really though - I go for mess contained ones. They usually last longer, more stuff to taste, smell, squeeze, more giggles. Painting in the tub is fun! I have more things pinned on pinterest too from other mommies I stalk... I'm too pregnant to remember!!!

    1. TOTAL flop! I figured I should still post about it though, so other moms knew we flopped out - lol!
      Miss Whit did a paint in a bag activity with the girls last Monday. It looks super cool, but the girls maybe stayed interested for 5 minutes, and being in a ziploc bag means that it doesn't dry (and can't really be saved).
      I was thinking about painting in the tub...have you been using the yogurt to paint in the tub with or something else? I know they actually sell tub finger paints, but I don't know that they are edible....=)

  3. We really enjoy the Do a Dot markers. They are about $12 for six on Amazon, but they last forever. Some mess, but water based and the girls love when I get them out!

    1. I actually bought some of those on Amazon per your suggestion when I bought the paint with water books! LOL! I'm just so unsure if they are ready for them! I don't mind if they are a bit messy with them, but they are still trying to eat EVERYTHING, and I don't really think the do a dot markers are safe to eat, are they?! And what activity would be best to start with with the do a dot markers? Just the markers and some plain paper, or should I try to focus on something more constructive than that?

  4. We also tried a version of painting last night. I wanted to try fingerpainting, and I bought this Crayola first fingerpainting set at Target. It's the kind of paint that only shows up on special paper (hubby figured out it's not the paint as much as it is the paper--the "paint" makes the color appear on the paper). I was all jacked up about it, envisioning some cute artwork for the fridge. The babies painted for about 30 seconds and then commenced to tearing up the paper. Drew didn't like the feel of the paint on his hands--he's funny about being dirty.

    So...I'm not sure if it's their age or what, but we still have 20 pages and some paint leftover, so we'll try again!

    1. Ooh, I saw that too when I was there last week! I thought about trying it too! Okay, good to know. I would have been envisioning cute artwork for the fridge too (obviously since that was my intent with the paint with water too!).
      It could be their age...I think my next adventure will maybe be the painting using food colored vanilla yogurt....I don't expect to get cute artwork out of it, but that may be more their speed since technically they can still eat it...sigh...
      I also saw some bathtub markers at Target today, but alas I believe they are too young for that as well =(. They are going to have tons of fun with the stuff I've bought once they get older at least! LOL!
      OH...I am going to try making sugar cookies with the girls and let them use the cookie cutters to try and cut out some of the shapes, then let them help me frost and sprinkle (they LOVE frosting AND sprinkles) that's a thought...I may also try the edible type play doh that you can make and let them play with that and some cookie cutters and see what they think. I'll make sure to post about it, especially if we have success!!

  5. I forgot about those books that I used to use too! Maybe I'll try them with my 3 year olds? I love no mess!

    1. I think they'd be great for your 3 year olds! I think the Water Wow books sound pretty awesome too...they seem to be about the same price, yet reusable....

  6. I would use plain yogurt - just because they WILL eat the vanilla and while its ok to eat obviously... That's a LOT of yogurt with DYE in it... We did snack first then the yogurt - and he still ate a ton of it. But he's only used to the plain stuff. He would have gone nuts for the vanilla and no painting would have happened! :-) But that's just him. Who knows!

    I think regular old washable finger paint for the tub is AOK. And so is pudding. You can also color yogurt with koolaid - no sugar of course - and it colors it but doesn't taste good so they don't eat it. But is safe if they do. I saw that on No Time for Flash Cards I think. (I don't think she did the koolaid paint in the tub though.)

    You can also give them blocks or bath toys or whatever to dip in the paint and smear over paper. That kinda mixes it up and keeps it interesting too! Yellow blocks with yellow paint - you could make it so educational! :-) HA!

    To clean up you could let them smear soap all over too. If they eat it that's not so good! But if they don't its fun!

  7. the girls LOVE paint with water books, however I hadn't been able to find them aunt found them at a Dollar General/Family Dollar type store.... :)

  8. PS How are the girls with fat crayons/colored pencils?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!