Learning to paint can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for anyone. Learning to paint gives us a great excuse to get a bit messy and creative. Kids discover quickly their ability to express themselves in a new way. The act of painting also helps improve their confidence and self-esteem.

5 parenting tips to inspire a child to paint.

With so many benefits to learning how to paint you might be wondering how best to introduce and encourage your child to begin this new skill. Below are five ways to help you get started:

1. Visit a museum for inspiration.

Get your child’s creative juices flowing by showing them history’s great paintings. Introduce your child to many different genres from the classics to cubism and mixed media. If you don’t have a museum near you make a trip to the library and check out the amazing variety of works created by painters throughout the centuries.

2. Prepare the supplies.

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on new painting supplies. To start your child learning to paint you just need the essentials. Go to a craft store or browse online for a basic set of brushes, inexpensive canvases, and acrylic paint, or a basic watercolor palette and some art paper. (At this stage you don't need expensive watercolor paper, just a water safe surface that you can tape down art paper on.) Alternatives to buying canvases for acrylics are using a heavy art paper, or even upcycling found goods or cereal boxes.

3. Understand the best learning technique for your child.

Some kids learn better by going step by step through a well-defined process. Other children learn best with more freedom to experiment. You probably already know which method works for your child. If not, try both techniques and see which one they respond to best.

4. Start with watercolor.

Watercolor is fairly easy to use and manipulate, so it’s a great medium to start with. You can find a watercolor instruction book at the library or online. Don’t be afraid to let your child experiment and play around. After they’ve played for a while and have gotten used to using a brush you can bring out acrylic paint and canvas for them to use.

5. Pick a painting or other image for your child to copy.

With art comes the dreaded “blank canvas syndrome”. The blank sheet staring you in the face can intimidate some budding artists. Let your child choose an image to copy so they don’t have the stress of figuring out what to paint.