How to Choose the Right Paints for Your Kids

two children painting pictures

Kids love painting and getting messy – it’s a proven fact! But as parents, just the mere sight of a tray of paints is usually enough to bring us out in a cold sweat. If we think back to when we were kids, we might remember the lasting stains on our clothes if we accidentally wiped the brush along our shirt. But fear not! Many paints today are perfectly suited to creative and adventurous kids who can’t quite manage to keep the paints on the paper – and detergents have also improved, making it easier to tackle tough stains.

Surf Excel understands that it’s in a child’s nature to get messy, and their blog contains some excellent inspiration for producing creative masterpieces using kid-safe paints. And if you’ve got some stubborn stains that just won’t budge, check out the laundry section of the blog for some great tips from other Moms in the same situation.

What To Look For in Painting Supplies

The most important thing to look for when choosing paints for your kids is a label that says ‘non-toxic’. Conventional paints contain many chemicals that add color, bind the various materials together, and stop the paint from drying out in the tin. However, these chemicals are both bad for our health and bad for the environment. Non-toxic paints have much lower levels of these chemicals, making them safer for use around children.

It may also be a good idea to look specifically for washable paints to make washing clothes easier. Washable paints are usually water-based. The water base means that, while the paints dry well onto paper, they are easy to wash off skin and clothing with some warm water and soap or detergent.

If you’ve got younger kids who are still trying to munch on everything in sight, it may be worth picking up some edible paints. These are available from a few major brands, and are typically made from organic produce that won’t hurt your kids at all if they decide to try to lick their brush or their paper. But be aware – as these paints are made mostly from cornstarch and water, they don’t taste too good!

What To Avoid When Looking for Kid-Friendly Paints

There are really two main types of paints to avoid when looking for kid-friendly materials. First, don’t use paints intended for interior decorating. These paints are usually full of chemicals that can be dangerous for kids. Second, you’ll also want to avoid spray paints. With these paints, not only is there a danger of your kids spraying it into their eyes, there’s also a risk of unintentional inhalation.

Make Your Own Paints!

Feeling a little creative? Then why not make your own paints for your family? It’s so simple to do, and since you know exactly what has gone into them, you will be certain that the paints are safe for your kids to use. Pop three tablespoons of sugar, half a cup of cornstarch, 2 cups of water, and just a pinch of salt into a saucepan and heat until the sugar is melted. Pour into six small containers, and add just a drop or two of food colouring to each container. Mix well and allow to cool, and voilà! You’ve got yourself some safe, edible, and vibrant paints. And best of all? As it’s made from ingredients from your own kitchen, it’s practically free!

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to maintain sanity around kids and paint.

Image courtesy of ehavir via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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