Surfaces: See surfaces for drawing (above).
More expensive papers such as watercolor paper, Bristol board, and canvas-covered cardboard can be painted. You can also paint wood or the pages of old books with acrylic paints. Be sure to place sheets of wax paper in between the pages as they dry so that the pages will not stick together. Finger paints require a special type of slick paper to make it easy to move the paint.
Use washable paints as much as possible. They can be cleaned up when wet with soap and water and can be washed out of clothing.
Tempera: These thick paints that can be thinned with water. They have a tendency to flake off when dry but are very inexpensive. Tempura paints come in small containers and in large quart or half- gallon containers from art supply catalogs.
Watercolors: These thin transparent colors come in cakes. Small sets are available with color choices. Large sets good for older children.
Acrylic paints: Once dry, acrylic paints can be painted over, and a finished painting may last a long time. Acrylic paints are available in bottles, tubes, and large inexpensive containers. Thicker paints are good for younger children; acrylic paints can be thickened with acrylic mediums. Finger paints: These bright thick colors require special shiny paper and are especially good for younger children.
Acrylic Inks: Inks are good for accidental designs when dropped onto wet paper. You can never quite control the outcome. They may also be used with small brushes, eyedroppers, or cotton swabs.
You can buy inexpensive acceptable brushes from preschool art catalogs for painting. You, can also use foam brushes or acrylic bristle paint brushes from the hardware store, or cotton swabs, eye droppers, sponges, rags, or squeeze bottles. The thicker the paint, the sturdier the brush. For younger children, get brushes with a good sized handle to grip. If you have the budget, a few sets of good artists' brushes with synthetic bristles are wonderful for the older children. Always wash all brushes with soap and water and store with the bristles or sponge end upward to minimize damage and increase longevity.
You will need containers for water and paint. The cheapest containers are old cottage cheese or yogurt tubs, or squat glass jars for older children. Save the lids for keeping the paint fresh from project to project and label them with the type of paint. Make sure that the brush you are using for the activity fits easily into the container and will not tip the container once it has water or paint in it. For thicker acrylic paints you can use thick paper plates or plastic plates or even well-washed meat trays from the grocery store as a palette to mix colors. Spoons or plastic knives can be used for mixing. Be sure to clean everything before the paint has dried; once acrylic paint is dry, there is no way to remove it.