Therapy and Supports

How can water colours be used to enhance developmental skills

2 minutes

Water colour art experiences may just be one of my favourites. They just always turn out so beautifully and the colours always seem to be so vibrant and bright. Something so satisfying for the kiddos too. When I worked as an early childhood educator all the children loved engaging in water colour craft. A huge plus is that they dry super quick, the biggest negative is that if you use too much colour your child may resemble the likes of Shrek or a Smurf for a few days. But that’s no biggie, right?

Benefits of engaging in water colour art

I find it always brings a calm and relaxing element to art experiences, not sure exactly why that is but that’s my observations from the 895 water colour paintings my girls have done.

What else you ask?

-Simple to set up, simply add the edicol and some water and wallah

-Super versatile

-Works well with other mixed media art

-Develops and fosters creativity

-Has a calming effect

-Stimulates the brain

-Works on fine motor skills

-Children can express themselves

-Develops hand-eye coordination

-Can be used to develop communication

Fun water colour activities to try at home

Water colours are so versatile and can be used to create beautiful masterpieces through many ways. One of the things I love most about water colour paintings is that they always look great. My autistic daughter gets so stressed when her paintings or drawings don’t turn out just right whereas when you use water colours there is no right or wrong way it should look, so it takes that pressure off.


Name a better activity to work on fine motor skills! Something about pipettes that are so popular with children, they seem to find the whole process of using them so intriguing. It’s a fantastic way to work on the development of early fine motor skills and finger strength.

Water colour paper works best as it allows the colours to blend well, it’s also thicker so when your child adds copious amounts of water colour paint (which they will) then the page won’t rip. Another great material to use is some good quality paper towel, this leaves such a beautiful vibrant effect.


Giving children opportunities to practice blowing allows them to slow down their breaths. It also stimulates the proprioceptive sense which is so wonderful to calm and organise busy minds. I often set up a large piece of butcher’s paper with water colours, we then use either pipettes or paint brushes to drop some blobs of water colour onto the page. Next step is to blow the water colour around! This is the super fun part. Sometimes my girls use straws other times they simply just use deep blowing breaths. I then cut out their favourite sections from the butcher’s paper.

Spray bottle

I’m yet to come across a child that doesn’t love this activity. All you need is some butchers paper, spray bottles and water colours. The use of spray bottles is a fantastic way to build on hand strength and it’s also a great way to work on hand-eye coordination.

Crayon resistance art

This is a super satisfying experience that uses different mediums. What you will need is some crayons, paper, paint brush and water colours. First have your child draw something on their page using the crayons. Crayons are a great drawing tool to develop hand strength as they need to press down with more force. Once your child is happy with their design have them paint over it with water colours. It’s always a super fascinating experience for them observing how the paint resists the wax from the crayon.

Another cool way to do this activity is to use only white crayon. I draw a picture with the white crayon on white paper and they can’t see what it is until they use the water colours to paint over it. I have used this technique to work on shape, number, and letter recognition. I draw a shape or write numbers/letters and as they paint across the page once they find a letter they must see if they know what it’s called.