10 Watercolour Techniques For Kids

Father And Daughter Painting

In our special guest blog post, art teacher Jen Roberts provides some fun tips on experimenting with watercolour techniques with kids. Prepare to get messy!

As a children’s art teacher, I find most kids love mixing paints and experimenting with different techniques.

A recent lesson which proved incredibly popular was on watercolour techniques. It was a great way to combine simple drawing, writing and other fun activities to see what happens with each step.

Tips: When using watercolours, dip the brush in water and then twirl it on the colour of choice. Dip again for a lighter and more watery colour. Always rinse the brush well in a water pot between different colour applications. If the water pot is too murky, rinse and get fresh water – this will keep the colours in your painting vibrant.

ArtBlog_1What you will need:

  • Children’s watercolour pallet (find these in art shops and discount stores)
  • Paint brush (medium-sized)
  • Water pot and water (you can use a cup or jar)
  • A3 drawing paper
  • Lead pencil
  • Marker
  • Permanent marker (such as a Sharpie pen)
  • Drinking straw
  • Salt
  • Oil pastel
  • Paper towels

Using lead pencil, draw a heading ‘Watercolour Techniques’,  then draw 10 rectangles labelled with each one of these headings: Plain, Mixed, Oil Pastel, Marker, Permanent Marker, Salt, Wet on Wet, Wet on Dry, Straw, and Paper Towel.


1. Plain

Paint the rectangle in one primary colour (red, blue or yellow).

2. Mixed

Using two of the primary colours, create a secondary colour and fill the rectangle.

3. Oil pastel

Using an oil pastel (white or yellow works great for this), draw patterns in the rectangle, then choose any colour to paint over. See what happens!

4. Marker

Draw any pattern in the rectangle with the marker and paint over the top. Watch the marker disappear and blend with the paint.

5. Permanent marker

Draw a different pattern with the marker and then paint over the top in a different colour. Observe the difference from the standard marker.

6. Salt

Mix another colour in the rectangle and then sprinkle salt onto it – be generous. Kids love to watch the salt absorb the colour. Once the paint is dry, shake the salt off and enjoy the effect.

7. Wet on wet

Paint the rectangle in a different colour and while the paint is still wet, paint some dots onto the wet paint (black works well for this). Watch the new colour blur into the other colour.

8. Wet on dry

Choose a different colour and paint the rectangle and leave to dry. Once dry, paint some dots or lines onto the dry paint – see the difference from the above.

9. Straw

Load the paint brush up with lots of water and paint the rectangle – it should be very wet. Using the straw, have your child blow and watch the paint dance off into different part of the page and give a dripping effect. They will love this!

10. Paper towel

After painting the last rectangle in any colour, use a scrunched up paper towel to dab the paint – it should produce a blotchy effect.

Chat to your kids about using any of these techniques in an artwork of their choice. The salt technique works well for creating an ‘underwater’ effect, and the paper towel effect is great for painting animals with fur. You can also try out the straw-blowing technique for a crazy monster artwork!

Have fun!

Jen runs Kids Art Classes, School Holiday Workshops and Art Themed Birthday Parties in Sydney. Visit www.kidsartclasses.com.au.

How to Use Your Child’s Dreams to Develop Their Creative Writing Skills

creative writing for kids

Dreams are a rich source of creative writing for kids. Dreams are often filled with unique ideas, adventures and experiences that rarely or never occur in the real world. Here are some ways parents can help children put their dreams onto paper!

Ask good questions. Talk to your child about their dreams and let them know that you’re there to listen and support their imagination. When your child describes the story in their dreams, ask them about their feelings, about the colours of the sky and landscape, and about exactly how events played out to jog their memory and encourage detailed description.

Practise the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule.  ‘Show, don’t tell’ is a great creative writing rule to follow, and encourages children to use active verbs to show what’s happening in their story rather than simply reporting the facts. You can get your child to start off by writing a play-by-play recount of their dream. Then get them to rewrite their story in a way that shows the same information. For example, ‘The dinosaur was scared’ could become, ‘the dinosaur trembled and ran away to hide’.

Create a story board. A story board is a series of pictures that tell a story. It resembles a comic strip and can be a fun way for your child to plan and visualise how they will tell their story. Often our recollection of dreams becomes lost after waking up. Story boards are a great way to help your child evoke imagery from their dreams or create new ones.

Help your child keep a dream journal. A dream journal is a great way to help your child record dreams and write them down before they forget. They can decorate and personalise they own dream journal and fill it with words and pictures. Remember to respect your child’s decision if they ever begin to want to keep their journal private.

Provide other tools for creative expression. Sometimes writing isn’t the easiest option for your child to express their dream experiences. By providing other tools for creative expression, you can encourage your child to bring their dreams to life in other ways such as art, dance, theatre or puppets. By experimenting with different tools for expression, they may find new ideas, motivation and inspiration to write.

Do not interpret. Feel free to help your child interpret their own dreams or tell them what you would think about if you were having the same ones, but remember to encourage their creativity and interpretation skills by letting them make the final decision on what their dreams mean.

For more creative writing tips read our blog post on story writing here.