A colorful paint palette with various paintbrushes and vibrant paint splatters

How to Teach Painting to a 7-Year-Old Child

Are you ready to embark on a colorful artistic journey with your 7-year-old? Teaching painting to a child can be a rewarding and enlightening experience for both of you. As with any new skill, it’s important to start with the basics and gradually introduce more complex concepts. In this article, we will explore various strategies and techniques to help you teach painting to your young Picasso. So, grab your brush and let’s get started!

Understanding the Basics of Painting

Before diving into the world of painting, it’s crucial to lay a solid foundation. Familiarize your child with the different types of paints and brushes available. Explain that just like a musician needs different instruments to create various sounds, artists also use different tools to express their ideas.

Painting is a form of artistic expression that allows individuals to communicate their thoughts, emotions, and ideas through the use of colors, shapes, and textures. It is a way to capture the beauty of the world and share it with others.

When it comes to paints, there are various options to choose from. Watercolors, acrylics, and tempera are some of the most commonly used types. Each type has its own unique properties and characteristics that make it suitable for different artistic styles and techniques.

Introducing Different Types of Paints and Brushes

Show your child the vibrant world of colors through a variety of paints such as watercolors, acrylics, and tempera. Explain the unique properties of each type, comparing them to the personalities of famous artists. For example, watercolors can be as gentle and transparent as Monet’s water lilies, while acrylics are as bold and vibrant as Van Gogh’s swirling starry night.

Watercolors are known for their translucent and delicate nature. They can create beautiful washes of color and are often used for creating landscapes and capturing the subtle nuances of light and shadow. Acrylics, on the other hand, are versatile and fast-drying. They can be used to create bold, textured paintings with vibrant colors. Tempera paints, which are made from pigments mixed with egg yolk or a synthetic binder, offer a smooth and opaque finish.

Similarly, discuss the different brushes available, highlighting their shapes and textures. Explain how brushes with fine bristles create delicate strokes, just like a ballerina’s graceful movements, whereas broader brushes can produce bold, strong strokes like a professional tennis player’s powerful serve.

There are various types of brushes to choose from, including round brushes, flat brushes, and fan brushes. Round brushes are versatile and can be used for both detailed work and broader strokes. Flat brushes are ideal for creating sharp edges and covering larger areas, while fan brushes are great for creating texture and blending colors.

Exploring Colors and Mixing Techniques

Show your child the magical world of color mixing. Start with the primary colors, comparing them to the basic building blocks of a masterpiece. Mix blue and yellow to create a vibrant green, just as a chef combines ingredients to make a delicious salad dressing.

Understanding color theory is essential for any aspiring artist. By mixing different colors together, new colors can be created. The primary colors, which are red, blue, and yellow, are the foundation of all other colors. Mixing primary colors in different combinations can produce a wide range of secondary and tertiary colors.

Encourage your child to experiment and discover new colors. Introduce the concept of complementary colors, explaining that they are like a pair of best friends who bring out the best in each other. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green or blue and orange. When placed next to each other, they create a vibrant contrast that can make a painting visually striking.

Remember to provide simple examples and metaphors to make these concepts more relatable to your young artist. For instance, comparing color mixing to creating a beautiful symphony or a tasty ice cream sundae can help them grasp the concept with ease.

Creating a Safe and Inspiring Painting Environment

Setting up an inviting and safe painting space is essential for your child’s creativity to flourish. Provide a dedicated area where they can explore and express themselves freely without fear of making a mess.

Setting Up a Dedicated Painting Space

Find a corner of the house or a table where your child can set up their artistic studio. Keep all their supplies within easy reach, such as paints, brushes, water cups, and paper towels. This will make them feel more independent and responsible for their work.

Choosing Non-Toxic and Child-Friendly Art Supplies

When it comes to art supplies, safety is a top priority. Opt for non-toxic paints and brushes specifically made for children. You can find quality art supplies that are safe and washable, allowing for worry-free creativity.

Referencing renowned pediatricians and obstetricians can reinforce the importance of safety in art activities. For example, Dr. James Sears, a renowned pediatrician, emphasizes the significance of using non-toxic art supplies to prevent any potential harm or allergies in young children.

Developing Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination

Painting not only allows children to express themselves but also helps in developing crucial fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Engaging in artistic activities at a young age has been proven to have numerous benefits for a child’s development. One such activity is finger painting, a sensory and tactile experience that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Finger painting not only allows children to explore their creativity but also helps strengthen the hand muscles and improves coordination, just like building sandcastles or playing with dough.

When children engage in finger painting, they are not only using their hands but also their entire arm to create strokes and patterns on the canvas. This movement requires coordination between the hand and the eye, as they need to visually guide their hand to create the desired shapes and lines. This process helps develop hand-eye coordination, a skill that is essential for various tasks in life, such as writing, playing sports, and even driving.

Engaging in Finger Painting Activities

Start by introducing finger painting, a sensory and tactile experience that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Finger painting helps strengthen the hand muscles and improves coordination, just like building sandcastles or playing with dough.

When children dip their fingers into the paint and apply it to the canvas, they are not only engaging their sense of touch but also exploring different textures and colors. This sensory experience stimulates their brain and enhances their cognitive development. They learn to differentiate between different colors, experiment with mixing colors, and observe how the paint changes in consistency as they apply it to the canvas.

Furthermore, finger painting allows children to freely express themselves without the constraints of using brushes or other tools. They can use their fingers to create bold strokes, swirls, and patterns, giving them a sense of freedom and ownership over their artwork. This freedom of expression fosters their creativity and imagination, allowing them to explore different ideas and concepts through their artwork.

Practicing Brush Strokes and Control

As your child becomes more comfortable with finger painting, gradually introduce them to using brushes. Encourage them to experiment with different brush strokes and control their movements. Compare it to learning a new dance routine or playing a musical instrument to make it more relatable.

Using brushes requires a different level of control and precision compared to finger painting. Children need to learn how to hold the brush properly, apply the right amount of pressure, and control the direction and speed of their strokes. These skills not only enhance their fine motor skills but also improve their hand-eye coordination and concentration.

Renowned child psychologists like Dr. David Elkind suggest that activities like painting can help children refine their fine motor skills while also promoting creativity and imagination. By engaging in painting activities, children are not only developing their artistic abilities but also acquiring skills that will benefit them in various aspects of their lives.

Encouraging Creativity and Imagination

Art is all about self-expression and fostering a child’s imagination. It provides a unique platform for children to explore their thoughts, emotions, and ideas. By encouraging your young artist to think outside the box and explore their creativity freely, you are giving them the opportunity to develop their imagination and express themselves in a meaningful way.

When it comes to nurturing creativity, there are various approaches you can take. One effective method is to provide open-ended painting prompts. Instead of restricting your child’s painting to specific subjects, you can ask them to paint what happiness looks like or what the world would look like if animals could talk. This allows them to tap into their imagination and create unique and personal works of art that reflect their individual perspectives.

Providing Open-Ended Painting Prompts

Open-ended prompts stimulate the imagination by encouraging children to think beyond the obvious and explore different possibilities. By giving them the freedom to interpret the prompt in their own way, you are fostering their creativity and allowing them to develop their own artistic voice.

Furthermore, allowing for free expression and experimentation is crucial in nurturing creativity. By letting your child explore different painting techniques, textures, and styles without any constraints, you are providing them with a colorful palette of possibilities. Just like a scientist conducting experiments in a colorful laboratory, your child can mix and match techniques with the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them.

Renowned psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner, known for his theory of multiple intelligences, supports the idea of encouraging creativity and imagination through art. He believes that artistic exploration allows children to develop skills beyond traditional academic subjects. Through art, children can enhance their visual-spatial intelligence, develop their ability to think critically and solve problems, and even strengthen their emotional intelligence.

By encouraging your child’s creativity and imagination through art, you are not only fostering their artistic abilities but also helping them develop important life skills. Art allows children to express themselves, think critically, and explore the world around them in a unique and meaningful way. So, provide them with the tools, materials, and support they need, and watch as their creativity blossoms into something truly extraordinary.

Teaching Basic Painting Techniques

As your child becomes more confident in their artistic abilities, guide them in learning some basic painting techniques to enhance their skills further.

Painting is not just about putting colors on a canvas; it is a form of expression that allows artists to communicate their thoughts and emotions. By teaching your child different painting techniques, you are helping them expand their artistic vocabulary and develop their visual literacy from an early age.

Demonstrating Blending and Layering Techniques

Show your child how to blend colors together to create soft transitions, just like a sunset melting into the horizon. Explain the concept of layering, comparing it to a painter building layers of story in their artwork.

Blending colors is like a dance between different hues, where they come together to create a harmonious and seamless effect. Encourage your child to experiment with different color combinations and observe how they blend together to create new shades and tones.

Layering is like adding depth and complexity to a painting. It is similar to a writer crafting a story, where each layer adds a new dimension and contributes to the overall narrative. Teach your child how to build layers of paint, starting with the background and gradually adding details and highlights.

Introducing Different Texturing Techniques

Explore various texturing techniques, such as using sponges, stamps, or even household objects like forks or combs. Compare it to adding different flavors and textures while cooking a delicious meal.

Texturing is like adding a touch of magic to a painting. It brings depth, interest, and tactile elements to the artwork. Show your child how to use sponges to create a soft and sponge-like texture, or stamps to add intricate patterns and designs. You can even encourage them to experiment with unconventional tools like forks or combs to create unique textures.

Just like cooking, where different ingredients and techniques contribute to the overall taste and texture of a dish, painting with different textures adds richness and complexity to the artwork. Encourage your child to explore different texturing techniques and observe how they can transform a flat surface into a visually captivating masterpiece.

Well-known art educators like Marion Deuchars advocate for teaching children painting techniques to develop their artistic vocabulary and broaden their visual literacy from an early age. By introducing your child to these techniques, you are not only nurturing their creativity but also providing them with valuable skills that they can carry with them throughout their artistic journey.


Teaching painting to a 7-year-old child is an opportunity to nurture their creativity, imagination, and fine motor skills. By understanding the basics of painting, creating a safe and inspiring environment, and encouraging their artistic exploration, you can help lay the foundation for a lifelong love of art. Remember, each brushstroke is a step towards creating a beautiful masterpiece and a journey that both you and your child can cherish together.