Product Type: ELC Art / Craft
Newest Review: ... with their less than perfect hand-eye coordination. As you have probably guessed I think the ELC Easy Painters are a fantastic addition t... more
(Almost) Mess free masterpieces
ELC Easy Painters
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Easy Painters
Advantages: Almost mess free, quick drying, easy for little hands to use
Disadvantages: Not very bright colours, dry so quickly cannot blend
If your looking for an (almost) mess-free way for your child to get creative then the ELC Easy Painters may just be what you are looking for. This set of five chunky, paint filled pens is available for just £4 from your local ELC or online and brings a new dimension to painting. Each pen has a sponge tip hidden beneath it's colour coded screw top cap and works much in the same way as a felt tip. All you (or your child) needs to do is give the pen a good shake and then press the tip onto paper to start the paint flowing and let your creative side free. The paint is extremely runny and flows easily from the tips in a relatively broad line and gravity itself is enough to keep the paint flowing.
The colours within the pack aren't the most vivid or brightest but they show up well on white or quality coloured paper (as long as it isn't too dark). I really wouldn't recommend using these on cheap, coloured activity paper though. We tried them on Wilko Activity paper and it just soaked in and barely showed against the paper. On cheap printer paper they do contrast well and as the paint is so liquid it dries quickly as long as the pen hasn't been squeezed. In fact they dry so quickly that it is almost impossible to blend shades, meaning you are stuck with the blue, yellow, green, pink and red. Once dry the colours are quite muted, almost like water colour rather than poster paint.
Although these painters are recommended for children over the age of three, I've been using these with my 20 month old son, Freddy, over the last six months (under close supervision of course). Preparing the pens for first use was indeed as easy as giving them a good shake and then pressing down on to some paper. Once I'd prepared the pens I got out some various types of paper and let Freddy have free reign creating some masterpieces. The pens are a really good size for Freddy to hold, being about 12cm from base to tip and very chunky with an indent to aid grip. Although he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do with these mini bottles of paint at first, as soon as I showed him that they made marks on the paper he was away.
It appears to only take minimal pressure to use these to paint onto paper, the lightest of touches transfers paint from the sponge tip to the paper. Freddy has no trouble drawing pictures of Daddy (not that they look anything like Daddy, but Freddy assures me that's what they are). I do only tend to give him one colour at a time, allowing him to choose which he wants next (a great way to introduce the names of colours), putting the lids back on the ones that are not being used. By doing this the tips have shown absolutely no sign of drying out over the last six months. While the painters only hold a small (unspecified) amount of paint, as there is no wastage and so they last a very long time. Ours have been used at least weekly for six months and are still half full.
When it comes to cleaning up afterwards, there is indeed, relatively little mess. I do find that Freddy manages to get a little paint on his hands, but this is easy to wash off and there has been the occasional mishap where he has decided to decorate his wooden table, but again this washes off with little effort. As the paint is contained in the pens Freddy hasn't managed to add decorative splats to his clothes, so far, even without an apron (what are you betting that he will next time now I've said that?). The only way I could imagine enough paint coming out of the pens to cause splashing is by them being squeezed, which is something Freddy can't managed. As I've said previously the paint dries quickly, meaning that is doesn't drip from the paper (as long as they are used correctly) and the only paper I find they soak through is the cheap paper from Wilkinsons.
As with any art materials these painters will help your child develop their creativity and learn to express themselves. Although not as versatile as poster paints (they cannot be used for finger painting, sponge painting or paint butterflies) they do added a new dimension to art work. They are also brilliant for those young children who do not like getting their hands dirty, allowing them to create pictures without worrying about getting paint on their hands. As well as encouraging creativity, you can also use the time when your child is using these painters to introduce basic colours as you talk about which colour they are using and allowing them to choose which colour they use next.
Although the recommended age for these painters is between three and ten years old, I do think that those at the older end of the spectrum will find them quite limiting and nowhere nearly accurate enough. I also feel the lower age is playing things a little safe and indeed feel that these painters are ideal for children from about a year onwards. Yes they will need to be supervised, but I always supervise art time anyway, and they will need the caps removed and replaced for them, but the design of the painters makes it easy for them to make marks on the paper even with their less than perfect hand-eye coordination.
As you have probably guessed I think the ELC Easy Painters are a fantastic addition to any young child or toddler's art box and would recommend then to the parent of any child aged between one and five years. Freddy loves using his almost as much as his more conventional, messy, finger painting and delights in using them to create masterpieces. So I'm giving the ELC Easy Painters five stars out of five as they are simply brilliant.
Summary: Another art box essential
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