Product Type: ELC Art / Craft
Newest Review: ... there hands are quite far away from the paper, they still manage to get messy though. The bristles of the brush are packed in tightly and... more
Chubby Brush Seeks Mini Artist For Rainbow Painting
ELC Chubby Paintbrush
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Chubby Paintbrush
Advantages: Well made, durable, perfect for little hands
Disadvantages: No good for fine detail
Twenty-one month old Freddy and I love our art time and have a vast collection of different materials and accessories. When we first started painting we used finger paints and sponges, but I recently decided it was time to add a little more variety and start using paintbrushes. Most paintbrushes aren't really suitable for young children, they're generally too thin or the heads are too small or they're simply too prone to shedding bristles and falling to bits. This is where the Early Learning Centre Chubby Paintbrush comes into it's own as although it's billed as being suitable for children over the age of three, in my experience it can be used by children far younger than that.
As you would imagine from it's name this brush is quite chunky, with a diameter of approximately 1.5cm at the bristle end tapering down to just over 1cm at the tip of the handle. The brush is also a good length, being 20cm from top to tail. While the handle is made of wood, the bristles are synthetic and the splash guard separating (and securing) the bristles from the handle is metal. What I especially like about this brush is that this metal section is far longer than with most brushes, meaning that paint has further to drip before it reaches Freddy's fingers. The bristles themselves are a good 4cm in length and when the brush is new they are tightly packed to form a rounded end. The brush is available in various colours including red and blue, but the one we are currently using is green, with a glossy, varnished surface that is completely free from splinters.
Although Freddy is pretty clued up with what paint is and uses crayons and chalks regularly, he was a little nonplussed when it came to this paintbrush. But after I showed him what to do he was starting to create masterpieces within moments. Although the brush is a really good diameter for him to grasp, it is a little long for him meaning that he holds it nearer the bristles than I would like and gets quite a lot of paint on his hands. The bristles pick up a good amount of paint (we use ELC Ready Mixed) and transfers it easily to the paper. Although the brush is not particularly good for fine detail, Freddy is able to create a number of different effects including dabbing and stippling as well as standard strokes. I would say that as far as Freddy goes, this brush has been a huge success, so much so that I've placed an order for three more.
As well as using this brush for paint we have also used it for gluing as it is much easier for a toddler than using a glue stick. Again it holds a decent amount of glue and easily spreads it over large areas for glittering or collages. An important aspect of a paintbrush is how easy to wash out and I can confirm that this comes up clean with just a little soapy water. But I will say that it does hold a lot of paint and a quick swirl in a water jar is not enough to wash all the colour out. Darker colours of paint will also stain the bristles but this doesn't interfere with performance. Another important consideration is whether the bristles fall out and ruin the masterpiece and again this brush performs very well, only shedding a couple of bristles on the first use. What does tend to happen though is after continuous use the bristles will splay out, especially if the child is a little heavy handed.
Believe it or not the design of this brush hasn't changed in the twenty years since I bought some for my eldest child. Those brushes were used for over five years and although the varnish did start to flake towards the end they barely lost any bristles and were perfectly usable. These brushes were particularly appreciated by one of my older children who is tactile defensive and couldn't cope with getting paint on his hands. The length of the brush meant he could hold it by the very end and not worry about the paint dripping onto him. While my older children were using these brushes up to the age of eight or so, they were only using them when they wanted to cover large areas in the same colour or glue junk models after the age of five or so.
I'm sure I don't need to tell what an important part of a child's development painting is, from helping them improve their hand-eye coordination, to colour recognition to expressing themselves and this brush is the best I've found for young children and toddlers. It's extremely well made, durable and designed for little hands. It's also reasonably priced at £1.50 and even better it is often on special offer at 20% or even 50% off. So after a little chat (and painting session) Freddy and I before agree the Early Learning Centre Chubby Brushes deserve a hearty five out of five and a place in any buddy artist's art box.
*Since writing this review I've discovered the Chubby Paint Brush comes in two lengths, the one I've reviewed and another twice as long that is much harder for Freddy to use accurately and more suited to painting at an easel.
Summary: A great paintbrush for toddlers, that will last many years and give loads of fun, whether used for p