Due to the enormous amount of fun we’ve been having with face painting around here lately, I thought I’d let you in on a little secret I learned about a decade ago while teaching at the lab school.  If you purchase an inexpensive set of  Watercolor Colored Pencils you can use them for face paint simply by dipping the tips in a little water before drawing.  I really can’t think of an easier way to do it!  For me, it’s less complicated to use the pencils to draw and there’s far less mess than creamy palettes.  They’re easy to store, last forever, and are ready to use at a moment’s notice.  Once the drawing dries, it’s pretty durable as far as rubbing goes, yet to remove it all you need is a wet washcloth.  This just might be the best bang I’ve ever gotten out of six dollars!

Here’s just a sample of where these pencils, plus a little imagination, have taken us in the past few days:

Arr, matey!  Following my son’s very specific instructions, I created this pirate face.  He loved that he could open his eye and still see “through” his eye patch.  I loved that he had to work so hard to close just one eye at a time.

Here we have Harry Potter and “Harry’s hairy friend”.  (That would be Hagrid.)  Watch out for those magic, er, um, straws.  These two were in their own world for quite some time.  I was finally invited to join them as “the lunch lady” when they got hungry.  I assured them I didn’t need a costume to pull that one off.

Is this the cutest doggie, or what?  As an extra bonus, the squiggly fur lines helped camouflage the stereotypical bonks and scratches on his two-year old forehead.

The pencils are so easy to use and so low-mess I’m more than happy to let my boys use them independently.  This is a design my six year-old made for my five year-old following his request to be a Bionicle.  They were both pretty excited that his eyes were still “open” (hence the yellow) even when closed.

With just a pencil set, a cup of water, a washcloth, and a mirror you’re ready to go.  Adding a little face paint to a child’s dramatic play can open up a whole new level of creativity and give a boost to their stories.  Set up a face painting station in your kitchen or dramatic play area and watch the wheels of imagination start turning!

What’s your favorite go-to trick for enhancing dramatic play?

For more on the importance of dramatic play, check out this series of posts:

Enchanted Learning: The Benefits of Fantasy Play for Children

A Part of Their World: Adult Roles in Child’s Play

Magic Words for Guiding Behavior: Let’s Pretend



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