story + art = great stART – Matthew’s Dream & Painting with Kids

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During Summer Get Crafty, I was reminded to not forget the “babies amongst” us and that they too are budding artists.

As part of this, I decided to do some “permanent” canvases with both Red Ted (2.5yrs) and Pip Squeak (8.5mths).

matthews dream



But first to our book:

Matthew's Dream Matthew’s Dream, by Leo Lionni.

Reading Age 5yrs – 7yrs. Read together age: 2.5yrs – 5yrs

Many may know Lionni’s little mouse Frederick – it is often used in art classes for primary schools. Leo Lionni obviously loves colour and one book that really represents his passion for art and colour to me, is one of his slightly less well known books Matthew’s Dream. Matthew is a little mouse setting out to discover what he wants to be when he grows up. A trip to the art gallery helps him discover his passion for colour.. He also meets another little girl mouse and that night he has a dream. And unlike many of us who leave dreams as dreams, he follows his dream and becomes a successful artist. Inspirational. Lovely. I love all Lionni’s little mice stories – beautifully illustrated and for me “classics”.

Nurturing the Budding Artist

So. What did we do? I decided that the little mouse Matthew was the perfect role model to “Nuture the Budding Artist” within my children. We used acrylics as they last better and are actually easy to get off the children (though not clothes, wear old things).

Painting with children

Red Ted helped me do some background colours – he chose blue for him and, erm pink for Pip Squeak. Not wanting to gender type my children so dramatically, I mixed in some yellow to get a nice orange. We had toddler meltdown. Goes to show – don’t interfere with their craft. Or don’t “ask them” and then “don’t give them”. I learnt my lesson.

Once dried, we then got painting. Red Ted insisted on pink for his canvas, which I was absolutely fine with, so I also gave him a little yellow to add variety. He started off very detailed, even did some leaf and hand printing and then it got messy..! But he had fun! And I love the result.

childrens artwork

Pip Squeak on the other hand, being only 8months, was confused. She tried to eat the paint brush, which none of us were happy about, least of all her. Then got painting. I gave her two different greens. My recommendation: do this with children 14 months +. A friend of mine did and their results and experience were much more positive (though I am still happy to have done this).


childrens artworkFor more Kid’s Craft, look here.