We've done a lot of finger painting in the past but not a lot of using a brush. It's HARDER for little ones to get their heads around using a tool instead of their hands and it takes a while to develop - just like using a fork. This is a skill that only develops with practice - so it needs to happen often!
GROSS AND FINE MOTOR DEVELOPMENT:
What feels simple to us is a big learning leap for them. They have to hold their bodies up, grasp the brush, move their arms to dip the paint, navigate back to the paper and use just the right amount of pressure to leave a mark. To be a fine artist - you need lots more fine motor development - imagine what you could have painted if you'd had heaps of practice and opportunities! I bought these easy-grip chunky kids brushes at the warehouse, and also some stamps to mix it up a bit. Both require different skill practice.
Art is always good for language. I set up 4 bits of paper and I painted my own piece, talking about the colours I was using and what I was painting (stick figure animals, mostly). I also commented on what he was doing, e.g. "You have the blue paint. You've mixed it. SPLODGE! "
Yes he ate some paint. Some of you get more hung up on this - I don't. He just had a couple of funny coloured poos. We use FAS none toxic paint and I don't lest him eat it like yoghurt but if a bit gets in there - so what? Children need to explore things with their mouthes, it's part of learning. The benefits far out-weigh the negatives. I just said "paint isn't to eat" and pulled a bit of a face when he was getting a bit too engrossed in eating, and I supported him to do more painting.
Outdoor painting is easy - do it near your garden hose! No excuses - it's time to get messy!