My best friend got her a beginner set of watercolor paints for her birthday in October and we just got around to using them a few weeks ago. As it turns out, Myka liked playing in the water with the brush more than actually painting. (Figures, right? I try to look at it as, "At least she was still entertained".) She has also "helped" me do the dishes a few times lately and absolutely LOVES playing with bubbles in the bath. So, I rinsed out the goop from our activity tub, as I call it, and filled it up with warm soapy water. I got the watercolor paints out and we went about our "bubble painting".
This is a great activity for toddlers for several reasons. First of all, I can't be the only one who has a kid that doesn't enjoy messy sensory activities. Plus, what kid doesn't like bubbles? Two, it provides an opportunity to learn colors. Three, it's good hand-eye coordination practice as well as helps develop fine motor skills. Four, even if your child decides to stick his/her hand/arm in the water, it's just soapy water and watercolors! Nothing too nasty to worry about. ;) Five, you have one less component to clean up since you can just dip the paintbrush in your water tub. Finally, this is practically a self-cleaning activity.
What kind of painting activities do you and your children enjoy?