Autumn, Paint Play

Wet on Wet Watercolor with Autumn Colors

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This process based art play is a great way for your 1-6 year old to experience color without focusing on line and shape. This painting method is used in Waldorf schools around the world. The wet paint dances across the wet paper beautifully as the young artist leads its movement. I set out some form of wet on wet painting for my little artists each week.


  • 3-5 watercolor paint colors thinned with water (use food color + water for little paint tasters)
  • Watercolor paper (do not use normal paper with this technique)
  • 3-5 jars to hold watery paint (each with its own brush)
  • A sponge to wet the paper
  • Crayons for drawing on top of the painting when it’s dry


  1. Set up the paint play invitation by taping watercolor paper to a table and wetting it thoroughly with a sponge
  2. Model the possibilities of how to use the materials
  3. Let your child explore
  4. Your child can be invited to draw on top of the paper with crayon or colored pencil when the paint is dry. I usually offer just a few colors for this, within the color theme.

Process over Product

Art play for children is about the process, not the product. When your child is “done”, the paper could look different than you envisioned it would. Let their process be what it is.

I leave a project like this set up for most of the week. 1 day for wet on wet, 1 day for painting on top of the dry wet on wet, and a day or two for creating another layer on top of the painting with crayon. Mr. 4 leaves and comes back to it several times.

I hope you have time to enjoy this painting method with your little ones sometime soon. Enjoy!

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