Toddlers enjoy working with paint, perhaps because it provides for messy, creative activities. The next time you and your toddler venture into a painting activity, incorporate paint rollers for some additional fun. Paint rollers are easy for toddlers to grip and manipulate. You can use commercial foam rollers with patterns or textured surfaces, or you can make your own paint-rolling surfaces with items you have around the house. For easy cleanup, complete your paint project outside or even inside on a vinyl shower-curtain liner.
Unusual Paint Rolling
Any round object will roll through paint and spread it. Textured surfaces create more diverse and interesting patterns than surfaces without patterns. Have your toddler roll a plastic, ridged bottle through paint she has dropped on paper to watch the interesting patterns created by the bottle ridges. Let her roll an old, round, woven basket through the paint to create a different texture. Let your toddler look at the interesting paint patterns created by a golf ball, tennis ball or other round objects.
A large sheet of butcher paper can become a paint roll mural. Give your toddler a small roller and put one tin of paint out at a time to minimize the mess and chances of overturning the paint. Once the paint dries, hang it up as is, or draw pictures that take advantage of the rolled paint, such as tree limbs or grass spears in areas of green paint and add clouds to swaths of blue to create a sky. Put textured objects such as leaves, flat puzzle pieces or paper cut-outs under the paper and allow your toddler to roll the paint on to create shapes in the painted section. Don’t remove the objects until the paint is dry.
Pool noodles make inexpensive paint rollers for your toddler, and some come with ridges and interesting textures. Cut the noodle into the desired length and insert the proper diameter wooden dowel in the center hole or push a wooden skewer into the foam if it doesn’t have a hole, and wrap the ends in duct tape to prevent your toddler from injuring himself or someone else. Roll the paint on paper or use soap paint and roll it across the sidewalk or driveway. Apply different textures by scraping away parts of the foam to create shapes or adhere craft foam shapes to the face of the noodle.
Rolling Paint Recipes
Create your own paints to save money and provide different textures for your child to work with. Washable, nontoxic paints are ideal for toddlers. Make faux oil paint by mixing 1 part liquid dish soap with 1 part powdered tempera paint. Create a stiff paint using 1 part nonmenthol shaving cream with 1 part white glue and a few drops of food coloring. Salt paint adds texture and pretty crystals when the paint dries. Mix 2 parts liquid starch with 2 parts water and 1 part liquid tempera paint. Mix 2 parts soap flakes with one part cold water and beat with a mixer until thick for soap paint. Add food coloring or powdered tempera paint to small amounts of the base to create different colors.