04 October 2008

Let your kid draw on the bathroom floor with washable crayons

Elizabeth's toddler art solution:

My son is just about to turn two. He loves to color, but gets very frustrated at how the paper slides around on the tile floor. So I give him washable crayons and let him color directly on the floor! When he's done, I take some pictures of the latest masterpiece, then break out the Swiffer WetJet or a sponge and clean up!

The only problem I could see with this is if he gets the idea that any crayon can be used to color on any surface (floor, wall, etc.). But it's different for every kid! I had one who would color on anything he could reach, and another was born a neatnik.

Related: Cleaning up crayon marks and poster paint

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Here's another way to solve this: use blue painter's tape to affix the paper to your table or floor. The tape can be removed easily when you're done.

What my parents used to do is tape a big piece of cardboard down onto the floor and then use small bits of masking tape on the paper on top of that. The cardboard picks up when kids go outside the lines, and it doesn't slide around.

Beware of painter's tape if your floors are a little worn. We did this recently in our old house and it lifted up a substantial amount of the finish, leaving very straight lines of bare wood behind.

Definitely a good tip for a specific type of kid. Our daughter would have had a ball with this strategy, while our son has to be strictly "drawing on paper only" or he'd be all over the house with stuff (more than he is already, anyway).

Yes, a fairly good idea; but for me, having to take out the mop or anything...too much clean up. Use dry erase marker on a window. Just wipes right off.

Certain types of coutertops work well for this too. It's actually a lot of fun. Try it yourself! When I had a wipable countertop I just used to have a dry erase marker by the phone and wrote messages there. No need to find a pen and paper, it's right there!

I use those same markers on the fridge. When he was 3-5, he could draw his big pictures on the fridge (we adults also left notes for each other; there's no way anyone can claim to miss a note written on the fridge!)

Now, at 6 and in the 1st grade, he practices writing his words on it. We also play school - one of us plays teacher and the other sits at the breakfast bar as student. Even tho he's 6, he is a pretty strict disciplinarian when he's in charge of our "classroom."

Obviously, I had to be firm about which markers are allowed on the fridge (although Sharpie marks come off easily with straight bleach! - I found that out when a babysitter missed the "good' markers and dug into a kitchen drawer to use a "bad" marker) and we keep a magnetic bin attached to the front of the fridge with the approved markers. Cleanup takes just a wet cloth. Occasionally, if we've left a masterpiece up for a few days, Windex is required to remove residue. In one instance, I had to use diluted bleach when we left some words up for a week.

But the fridge keeps him busy while I'm in the kitchen or on the kitchen phone.

nice swiffer advertisement. your kid must love all those nasty chemicals!

I use washable crayons on a whiteboard - and also the whiteboard side of the Ikea easel.

We invested in TWO magna doodles - one for each kid - and that did the trick. I was forever hauling out my camera though to take pics of their stuff before they erased it...

J, permanent marker also comes off with dry erase marker. Just color dry erase over the permanent and wipe. It's surprisingly that simple!

To the commenter named "swiffer?":

I'm going to ignore your snide tone (something I rarely see at PH) and instead address the content of your comment.

This post is not an advertisement -- I published this hack as written. However, yes, I do often link relevant products to their Amazon pages, because Amazon Associates revenue is part of how this site generates income. My general guideline regarding what I link to Amazon: if it seems useful to readers, or if it's a good deal.

I can't divine what's useful to every reader, nor do I set out to please every reader (an impossible task). And if I inadvertently link to something people think is crap, I hope they will let me know in the comments. The last thing I was to do is to hock junk -- the point of this site is to be useful, and to put the wisdom of crowds to work for all of our benefit.

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If you wanted to tack the paper down, you could probably use "drafting dots" - which are little circles of masking tape that architects/drafters use to hold down their paper.

When my daugter went through a "writing on the wall" stage at about 18 mos. we hung up a sheet of plotter paper in her favorite doodling spot, took it down when it got full. You could also use very large sheets of newsprint (from a roll or the art supply store) or brown paper. It might make neat wrapping paper when it's done.

As a parent that went to art school, I want to mention a simple artist tool I've been using with my toddlers. When they are coloring at the table, I just tape the paper down! I use masking tape now, although in art school we used a more expensive acid-free version called artist's tape.

I also just tried "twist-up crayons" for the first time, and I love them! The crayons are inside a rigid plastic cylinder, so little hands can hold them without breaking them (on accident or on purpose).

...My boys are definitely in the "don't give them any ideas about coloring on the floor" catergory.

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