Little Picasso: when your kids use your walls as a canvas

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When children get creative on your walls with their crayons, paints and pencils, it usually isn't quite the art and design you had in mind for the room. Luckily there are lots of options to make living with a "little Picasso" a less messy experience.

As most parents witness, young children with crayons or paints in their hands will decorate anything in sight. In their defense, some research shows that when a three to four year old colours on the walls it might be because at this stage in their development it's easier for them to draw with their hand out in front of them, rather than on a tablei. However, this doesn't make those unwanted artworks any less frustrating. If you're facing this problem with your child, there are ways to clean up the mess and stop it happening again.

Luckily there are ways to scrub away unwanted modern art.

Non-toxic and child safe cleaners

When cleaning painted walls it's always a good idea to test an inconspicuous area first to see how the cleaner affects the paint finish. Here are some tips for cleaning up after your little artist:

Encourage little Picassos

If you want to prevent a big clean up and your children just can't keep their creativity off the walls, it might be a good idea to encourage that exact behaviour. Maybe you don't want crayon masterpieces all over your dining room, but there are plenty of ways to let children express themselves and to keep your home looking great. Bear in mind that the ideas listed below may only be appropriate for older children who understand that just because they're allowed to paint on one wall, they aren't allowed to decorate the whole house!

Chalkboard paint

Chalkboard paint is a great tool for parents looking to entertain creatively minded children. You can paint whole walls with chalkboard paint or keep it just to certain doors or pieces of furniture; you can even get creative by having chalkboard paint within frames or painted into designs on the wallv. Then you can let the kids loose with colourful chalk.

Whiteboard paint

Although more expensive than chalk board paint, the beauty of dry erase or "whiteboard" paint is that it doesn't have the dust that comes with chalk and it's easier to work in to a more neutral colour palette. It comes in white or transparent and has a glossy finishvi.

Some kids can't help but get a little messy - encourage their creativity with an easel to paint on rather than the wall.

Easels and paper sheets

For kids who love to play around with paint it might be worth setting up an easel in their room, or even occasionally sticking big sheets of thick paper to the wall in the room they do art and craft in. When children prefer painting on the walls to sitting at a table to paint it may be because it's easier for them to paint upright, or because they just want a larger canvas. For a day filled with art activities, why not encourage their creativity and allow them to paint on the allocated wall which you've covered in paper; you may have to put sheets down to protect the floor as well but your child will no doubt have a ball. Easels are another simple but effective option and they can look great incorporated into a kids' playroom or bedroom.

When your little Picasso makes a big mess, they're probably just expressing themselves the best way they know how! By finding ways to let them scribble to their heart's content while keeping the crayon and paint contained, you'll encourage their budding creativity without ruining your décor!

iMiles K 2012, Drawing on the walls, viewed 4 March 2014,

iiEartheasy 2012, Non-toxic home cleaning, viewed 4 March 2014,

iiiChannel 4 2009, How to clean painted walls, viewed 4 March 2014,

ivBBC 2014, Housekeeping: trade secrets, viewed 4 March 2014,

vSchneider R 2012, ‘Get creative with blackboard paint’,, 9th August, viewed 4 March 2014,

viHotz A 2013, ‘Drawing on the walls: dry-erase paint’, Remodelista, 30th May, viewed 4 March 2014,