They want to make art. They want to make art with YOU. Why? Because your words of encouragement mean SO MUCH.

The question that ran though my head before a play date last week was... "Is it bad parenting to let a child experience real spray paint?" Yes... As much as I want to allow Kate the experiences of the fabulous products I use in my art, I don't think a five year old is ready to wield a spray paint can. So we changed it up a little bit and everyone loved the results!

For this art play date, I gave the children all a piece of watercolor paper cut in a long rectangle. Stir things up by varying the size of your substrate and the children will think each project is better than the last. I mixed drops of acrylic paint in little spray bottles and filled them with water. There are a lot of different dye based spray paints on the market as well. We had a few bottles of this. Check out these other options too: here and here.

There are so many stencils and templates available these days. I gave the children a collection of stencils to use and they had a ball filling up their papers. (Search templates, scrapbook templates, stencils online.) Allow the colors to overlap and bleed into each other for some unique colors.

You don't need store bought stencils for this lesson! Find leaves, shapes in nature, cut paper snowflakes, shapes..you can do it! You can use stencils or masks.

When Leonardo is finished making his or her artwork, you can leave it whole, or cut it up and make smaller paper projects. If your paper curls, once it is dry, use a hot iron to flatten it out.

Looking for other creative ideas for you and your child this summer? Click on the "mixed media for children" link below this article. There is your lesson plan, ready to go! I hope you will join me next week.

edit: This is not a tidy project..The children need supervision with the spray bottles and they need to wear old clothes. Make sure to cover the spray area in plastic. Have paper towels on stand by too.