(Photo: my little boy, never too young)

If you gave a kid a choice between a paintbrush and easel and a hot, new iPad, without blinking an eye, he would most probably pick the iPad. Children are known to have short attention spans, and pretty much anything which involves moving things with a tap or a click of the finger will win over low-key activities such as painting on any given day.

But we adults know better that painting does a whole world of good to any child. It is a medium for kids to express their ideas and emotions as they explore colors, different processes in painting, and the outcome of those methods. And when they create a masterpiece of aesthetic proportions, it makes them- and us, of course- beam with unabashed pride. How do we get them interested in painting, then?

You can start them off by introducing them to different artists. You can visit museums, websites, or read books on painting. You can have them watch art programs on TV which are especially designed for kids. Help them find inspiration in everyday objects or experiences.

Try getting them cool art supplies. Get some brushes and paints in different colors and sizes. Having them paint on an easel will make them feel like a true artist. You can even customize or personalize it for them.

Once the painting bug has bitten them, you can keep them interested by showing genuine interest in their artwork. If you feign admiration, they will see through you. Value their efforts with sincere affirmation.

Encourage them to talk about their painting by asking open-ended questions. For instance, ask them, “What happened when you mixed red with yellow”? You can even have them create a story from their masterpiece.

You wouldn’t be able to count the benefits of painting on kids with the fingers on your hand even if you tried. They’re simply too many to count. Painting opens up new worlds of exploration and learning. Tap into that, and your kids will never be bored again.