I've heard quite a few people say lately that they are a bit afraid to let their young toddlers paint because of the mess they can make. We began painting as soon my little ones were old enough to understand that they weren't allowed to eat the paint and/or paintbrushes!
Here are my tips for painting with young toddlers.
1. Use non-toxic & washable paints. They will get it on their skin and clothes. If it is washable paint it should come out of clothes in a regular wash cycle.
2. Use smocks. They protect clothing and skin and don't have to be washed after every activity. If you don't have smocks, some of Daddy's old collared business shirts are perfect. Just wear them back to front and roll up the sleeves!
3. Keep a wet facecloth handy. It is a lot easier to wash paint off faces/hands and furniture while it is wet. Have one available and ready at your activity.
4. Keep your paints organised and accessible. This is a great tactile activity that allows toddlers to be creative and entertained for long periods. It will be easier to set up if you are already organised. We were given a great little flower paint tray for Christmas, but prior to that we used to just use old egg cartons to pour our paint into. They work wonderfully and you can let the paint dry and then re-use them. Consider also letting the children experiment with bottle tops (large ones that aren't choking hazards) and make up sponges or other shapes that they can dip into the paint and use as stamps.