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Supply the kids with a painting journal. Not a cheap scrapbook but rather a nice artist journal with art quality paper. You can buy good art journals in most art supply stores. They will also need a jar for water, a range of brushes, a plate or tile for their pallette. (Cover this with cling plastic wrap and you can throw away the left overs), a painting shirt or apron, paper towel and an old towel to put underneath their work.
For the ideas part kids can come up with their own, but if they are stuck look for ideas from colouring books and teach them to trace and transfer patterns with graphite. There is nothing like lots of tracing for teaching them how to draw! They like scenes, flowers and animals for starters...but my Miss 6 still has a fettish for dinosaurs!
Kids need some basic rules; They must clean up their own mess. So show them how to wash up their brushes and where to put things when they are done. I also have rules about how much paint to put out, and make sure they wear their protective clothing. I also teach them to remove excess water from brushes so they don't end up with a watery mess.
Kids like to use glitters and confetti punch-outs and paper...so if they want to get creative then let them. Too often we are held back by what others think doesn't look good.... let their creativity flow and include glitter paints in their Santa stocking! Kids like to use glitters and confetti punch-outs and paper...so if they want to get creative then let them. Too often we are held back by what others think doesn't look good....let their creativity flow and include glitter paints in their Santa stocking! Just keep to your rules...your mess you clean it up or lose the privilege! However, be aware that these sorts of products may not last for years in the same condition that they are now...so heirloom quality won't be achieved here. But boy it is fun!
One of the tools I use for teaching light source is a cardboard box. I cut a flap in the middle of the top and the sides. One end of the box is open and when set down on a table with the opening facing the viewer it is now a stage. Sit objects inside it. I use teddy bears. Use a torch and open the top flap. Shine the torch on top of the teddies through the flap. The light source is coming from the top. Discuss where the light is hiiting the top and creating shadows where it can't strike at a surface. Discuss the colours we see in this. Now shift the torch to the left and right flaps doing the same thing. Just walking through this process with your students will help them to visualise the light source.
Sometimes kids want to paint outside their books, on wood like mum does. You can get lots of cheap wood pieces in bargain art and craft stores, and if you make your own wood pieces, they are often happy with the scrap or not quite right box! They will do badges and brooches, door hangers, plaques, and placemats. Placemats are a real winner around here! Be sure to teach them good habits from the start...sand seal, base coat and sand again!