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Fun in Watercolor – Frugal Novice

Fun in Watercolor

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We went to Target again recently to pick up a few things (oh, how I love Target… if only we had a SuperTarget… but then I might never be home, and the whole being frugal thing would be a lot harder!) and stopped by the markers/crayons/paints aisle to pick up some art supplies for J. Brian is an artist, and I really like art & design, so it’s exciting to us that J is finally getting interested in coloring. I knew he’d done some painting at day care because we have several of his paintings hanging up around the house, so I thought it would be fun to get him some paint to work with at home.

I have to admit something. We walked down the aisle, and I was completely drawn to the box of sixteen little tubs of paint – including teal, my favorite color. I showed them to J, and said, “Oh, look – do you want to get these paints?” He looked at them briefly, then shook his head and said, “No, Mommy. Let’s get this!” as he grabbed the $1.97 watercolors.

You know the kind of paint I mean, because I don’t know anyone who hasn’t used these watercolors. It’s the little oval pads of paint housed in the plastic tray, a bright yellow paintbrush tucked away in a trough beside them. I remember opening and closing the hard plastic case over and over when I was a child, loving to hear that click. Well, despite my fondness for the watercolor set, and its inexpensive price, I still tried to persuade J to go with the tubs of paint. They looked like more fun to me, never mind the fact that they cost $4.97, more than twice as much as the watercolors. He shook his head at me again, and we went home with the watercolors.

We promised him he could paint if he ate a good dinner (picky eater=bribery at dinner time sometimes), and he did. After the table was sufficiently cleared we set him up with supplies and he got right to work. He went through three pieces of paper, but not quickly. I was surprised at how long he worked on each sheet, because in coloring books he tends to move from page to page pretty quickly.

I showed him how to dip the brush in the water and then tap it on the side of the dish before dipping it in the paint. I said, “Tap, tap, tap,” as I showed him, and he apparently thought that was part of the process, because he said it each time. It was a lot of fun watching him pick the colors, saying each one as he decided to use it.

Like I mentioned, we ended up with three works of art – a couple we’ll probably send to grandparents, and one we’ll find room for on our refrigerator. He’s already asked to paint again, and I have a feeling this $1.97 set of paints will provide countless, priceless hours of fun for J.

Our little artist, hard at work. I think this is the one we’ll keep for ourselves. I’m probably just a tad biased, but I really like it!


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  • Vergie Houska April 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    You have a new fan! I love your stuff here and will be back again.

  • Jan March 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Such a CUTE little guy! My son loves to paint too.

    • Christi March 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks, Jan! We hope both our boys will continue to have a love of art as they get older.

  • Rebecca Peters November 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    How old was your kid at the time he did this? I have been thinking of getting a paint set for my baby but shes only 13 months, Im not sure shes old enough but Id like to know when a good time is! I dont want to spend a ton on arts and crafts, so Im glad there are cheap options out there! :)