Friday, 26 October 2018

Letting five grandchildren loose with Little Brian paint sticks

I have never been a lover or messy arts and crafts playing, even when my own children were young. Yes I would allow it in the garden but not really in the house. Maybe because I was never an arty/crafty child myself. I would happily let them make a mess with baking stuff and would have baked with them all day long - so I allowed them to use their creative flair in other ways - though back then this terminology was never attached to children and what they did with their day.

So when I saw an opportunity to try some Little Brian Paint Sticks I thought why not, sounds like the sort of thing I would allow them to play with in my house.Their website has ideas and hints and tips on so worth a look if you are buying some and each box came with hints and tips in as well. I feel their website is slow to load but worth the wait.

I received three packs, Mini paint sticks, metallic paint sticks and chalk sticks. The website describes them as:
A fun, clean, simple and very convenient way to paint, Little Brian Paint Sticks have fast become the latest must have toy for any art or craft fan! They can even be popped into a travel bag to keep the children entertained on holiday too!

So initially we tipped the two boxes of paint sticks onto the table having got out paper for them all to use. We used white paper as well as coloured to see what sort of effects we could get. Now two of the children using these paints are under three but they were all closely supervised.

The first thing we noticed with them was they all struggled to get the lids off of the mini paint sticks. Minky, who will be five next month,  decided he would use his teeth, and then take it out of his mouth, so Dinky and Spud copied, Ziggy did it the easy way and asked. Have to say we were not keen on the size of the lids as I would imagine it could be quite easy for a child to swallow one of these small lids.  We decided to remove all of the lids from all of the paint sticks and pop them in a bowl up out of the way of little fingers and mouths.

So the children all picked up a paint stick or two and started creating masterpieces. The term masterpieces is used loosely, but they were all happy pieces.  The five children varied from two 2yr old, the twins at nearly 5 and Fifi at 15. Fifi is currently doing Higher Art at school. The first downside we came across with the mini sticks is they all look the same, no way of knowing which colour was which. It might have been a help had either the outside wrapper or the bottom of the stick been colour coordinated the same as the metallic sticks. Anyway this did not detract from their pleasure at being creative.

the metallic paints, all coloured so easy to choose 

the mini paint sticks, the cases are all the same colour

The twins with Spud watching on

Dinky's man with headphones over the ears 

Minky's walking house 

Minky's house with a lamp post 

trying out textures and their first drawings. 

even the two two years old joined in and had fun. 

Minky did a snowman and flowers and then put a purple jumper on his snowman 

Fifi felt it was like painting with glue sticks, she felt they dragged a bit making it a harder to get an even covering that you would get with a paint brush. The younger ones did not notice this and painted away quite happily.

Fifi did a baby sea turtle by layering and blending with the metallic ones 

a halloween house that was also blended and layered. 

We found with so many of them picking them up and putting them down willy nilly they were rolling off the table so possible a triangular shape would have worked better from that point of view. The plus side was how quickly they dried, with five children painting finding drying room would be difficult. I remember my son use to come home from school with paint on the paper thick enough to crack once dried as he loved to layer it on thick.

I see from their website that you can use both the paints and the chalks on glass, a great idea for decorating your front window for Halloween or Christmas.

Then we moved onto the chalks with the older four, the two younger ones had moved off to read books.

These gave a different effect and were thinner in diameter, more crayon thickness. We did find that heavy handed 4 yr olds managed to break a few of them.

Fifi did a unicorn with the chalks 

We did do a bit of painting on the mirror with them, could not get it to photograph, not sure how easy it came off as I did not attempt to.

The chalks were great as there was no dust from them and they did not smudge across either the paper or their clothes. We did not try them on a chalkboard but used the on paper, they worked well.

 This is Minky taken the other week when he had been using his chalk board, rubbing off what he drew with his hands and wiping it over his face and down his tee shirt.

The paint sticks are currently available in a lot of the Tesco stores, check your store here 

Our verdict -

  • a great idea and would be fab for travelling or at a grandparents house where opportunities for messy play may be limited. 
  • work well with nice vibrant colours
  • dry quickly with no smudging across paper or clothes
  • more expensive than normal paints but great as an alternative
  • lids difficult to remove for little hands, and small enough to pop into little mouths.
  • rolled off the table, maybe a different shape would be better
  • opportunity to be more artistic with water and a paint brush

We were sent these items to try out but the findings our are own. 

1 comment:

  1. We love the Little Brian Paint Sticks here. I have got my youngest more for Christmas. (We reviewed them a few months ago). They are fantastic for not creating a mess.
    It looks like all the grandkids had a fab time x


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