A friend of mine recently asked if I would be interested in doing a painting lesson for her daughter's 8th birthday. Um, yes! Her daughter loves butterflies, so I came up with a pretty simple butterfly.
I prepped the canvases by lightly spraying them blue, leaving plenty of white splotches for clouds. I was concerned that with the limitations of time and attention span, painting a background was out of the question. I guided them through, step by step, teaching them how to paint the butterfly section by section, how to use the end of their brush to make dots, and other little tricks.
There were 18 girls at the party. That is a LOT of girls! It was so much fun to do, and they seemed to really love it. I had a hair dryer with me to dry the paint before did the designs on the wings. That worked out great. I had them use Martha Stewart craft paint, which is cheaper than 'artist' acrylic, but nicer than the cheapest acrylic you can get. I experimented a bit and found the advantages of the Martha Stewart brand were that it was thicker and could easily cover on the first coat. It also dried fairly quickly and had cool sparkly colors!
When I came up with the image, I wanted something that would allow them to have good results, as well as allow them to use their creativity. I have found that often people are paralyzed by the idea that it has to look 'just like yours/mine/hers'. Only a few girls got hung up on that, and the rest of them seemed to really love being able to personalize their own paintings. Now they have their own masterpieces to take home!