Easel painting is as important as building, reading books, dramatic play, science or any other aspect of the foundations early childhood. They provide endless rich opportunities to learn in science, math, language, and visual arts.
To set this invitation up simply provide a child with butcher paper, paint, and brushes on an easel. Typically our easel is inside with materials (crayons, markers, chalk, paint) always ready to go. Today we decided to provide a different experience by placing the easel outside while playing classical music.
Before diving into more of the benefits of easel painting a couple of tips to help with the mess:
If painting indoors place a table cloth or mat on the ground to catch the paint. You can do this for outside to but I usually just hose it down with water.
Provide children with apron to wear over clothes or a rain coat/boots.
Place a bucket of soapy water and towel nearby for a quick clean up if a sink is no where near.
Children who paint learn to think with an open mind, to look at situations creatively. Working on the vertical surface puts a whole new spin on the experience. They learn to express themselves more deeply through their art and their words. They develop critical-thinking skills and must make decisions about what works and what doesn’t on their own, how to mix colors to create new ones, or how to make certain movements to create designs. By learning to paint, children gain a skill which they can be proud of. It gives them a foundation to look at the world with the confidence they can accomplish a goal.
Physically they are using the large and small muscles of the arm with easel painting. Simply moving the brush from the container to the paper requires focus and control which enhacnes fine motor skills. Large motor skills are used when the easel works the shoulder and entire arm of the body. All these movements enhance their hand-eye coordination as well. Continuous exposure to these movements through easel helps control their marks later on.
Visual art deeply affects children, for it is one of the most important forms of communication. Painting at the easel has a fluidity that is different from other art media that children use
because there is no right way in the arts. When children simply paint, they are proud to be unique and to express and honor their creative artistic style.