31 March 2013, by Tan Yi Lin

DIY Paint Date

March turned out to be a pretty good month.

One of the highlights would have to be Dan’s best friend’s – also Coco’s godpa’s – wedding on 9 March. The Best Man delivered his speech with aplomb and the goddaughter fulfilled her role as the Flower Girl.

My favourite picture from the wedding

Well, truth be told, the only reason Coco pulled off the job well enough was because expectations were set very low!

She only had to don a pretty dress, keep her shoes on and make it down the aisle with her partner by her side.

We’re glad to report 100% success for the above-mentioned tasks.

Never mind that the elegant faux pearl hairband didn’t stay on.

Or that she shook all the rose petals from her basket onto the floor before the march-in even started.

Or that she somehow managed to delegate the job of carrying the now-empty basket down the aisle to the poor boy (I have no idea how that even happened.)

Or that both mummies had to escort the tiny performers down the entire length of the aisle because they got slightly overwhelmed by the audience.

She did it!

Still very proud of our Coco Monster, nonetheless!


Another March highlight was the play date that we organised at our place for Coco’s little friends and their parents.

Earlier in February, Dan and I brought Coco for a free trial session at an art school in the Bras Basah area. I had won the session by taking part in a simple online contest organised by a parenting magazine.

There were five other toddlers, each accompanied by mum and dad, at the session. Stripped down to their diapers, the six kids sat atop a large, sturdy wooden table wrapped in a plastic sheet. Each child was given a large sheet of drawing paper, a paper plate and some ‘tools’ such as toothbrushes, sponges, ping pong balls, toy cars and paint brushes.

Throughout the session, the school’s young, enthusiastic facilitators went around the table squeezing generous dollops of non-toxic poster paint onto each paper plate. We were all encouraged to dip in – literally – and simply go wild with the paint. The staff coaxed the participants – parents and children alike – to make handprints and footprints in every colour; to experiment with all the materials given; and to even cover our bodies in paint!

In other words: Just. Get. Messy.

Some families were very hesitant to get ‘dirty’ and adopted a very cautious attitude to painting. Alongside doling out more paint, the facilitators dished out tips to the parents, such as:

Show your baby that it’s okay to touch the paint!

Don’t act like it’s dirty.

Try not to keep wiping the paint off their bodies – and yours too.

Make it a fun activity (or at least act like you’re having fun….)

We took advantage of the free materials and the school’s cleaning facilities (well, just two large sinks and some baby soap) and dug right in (while repeating this mantra under my breath: kids are 100% washable…. kids are 100% washable…)

We doodled with the paintbrushes; made handprints; footprints (using Coco’s feet); painted Coco’s diaper; painted Coco; made random patterns and shapes with the sponge, ball and toy car… in short, everything we could think of.

She caught on to the idea of painting quickly enough: she painted her diaper; she painted her body; she painted our bodies; she made prints with just about anything and everything; she painted on the adjacent kid’s paper; she stopped short of painting the kid too…

Our masterpiece

She only got flustered when she made a footprint and the paint dried – and she got stuck down to the table. Haha.

All in all, we enjoyed Coco’s first painting experience and enquired about the lessons offered by the school: $560 for a package of ten hour-long art and craft sessions covering felt art, sand art, clay modelling, card-making, etc. Now, that works out to be…

… $56 per session?!


Not that I want to belittle the school’s efforts, but these simple activities can be done at very much less!


Buoyed by how easy it was to conduct a painting session for toddlers, I rounded up our friends and their bubs – all around Coco’s age – for a DIY paint date at our place one Sunday morning using the following items / materials:

(1) Large washable play mat to line the floor

(2) Large roll of drawing paper from IKEA (courtesy of Mandy)

(3) Melissa & Doug non-toxic poster paint in five colours (approx $5 per bottle, cheaper if you have a VIP discount from Mothercare or if you buy them during a sale)

(4) Paint brushes of various sizes (easily available from IKEA and Daiso)

(5) Old toothbrushes

(6) Bath sponges, make-up sponges and sponge rollers ($2 each or per pack from Daiso)

(7) Breakfast for the parents!

And we were ready to roll!

Little girls at painting play

The boys were a little more cautious but upon some encouragement, they got some great artwork underway too.

Shamelessly helping herself to other people's paint palettes...

The ringleader shows off her experience with paints by dipping right in.

Baby A: "Woah, Coco, blue hands are COOL!"

Being a big kay-po and checking out other people's artwork.

Repeat after me "Kids are 100% washable..."

"Is this where I sign up for the Army?"

All the materials were easily obtained, relatively inexpensive to purchase and can be re-used over many sessions.

The girls had a great time getting messy and covering each other in body paint! Baby A happily painted Coco’s legs and Coco reciprocated by making a teddy bear sponge print on her friend’s head!!! Coco got a tad too adventurous, though, and attempted to paint her right eye blue and her tongue green…

The boys preferred to get cleaned up quickly and headed off to play with toys instead, haha.

But yes, the paint washed off fairly easily – kids are 100% washable after all. In fact, Baby A had so much fun in Coco’s tub that she didn’t want to get out of the bath….

The parents had a great time too, since art and craft is a fairly sedentary activity. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I’m thinking of reprising the activity again this weekend with a few colleagues and their kids (provided I don’t pop just yet…)


Posted on : March 31, 2013

Filed under : Uncategorized



September 24th, 2013 at 9:53 am    

Hi Yi Lin, thanks for this post! It definitely sounds fun. I will try it out with my friends too.. 🙂

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

April 18th, 2013 at 10:30 am    

Hi jieying,

Yes, I’ve been keeping updated on how you and N are doing from reading your blog 😀 Good to read that N is doing well at infant care and that he loves painting. Coco does various forms of painting in school too and she likes it. Just that she now tries to make hand prints on the iPad… which doesn’t quite work.

Hey Mandy,

Heh, now that Cristan is in play school, maybe he’ll get to do more painting there and be super gung-ho about our next painting play date 😛

Mandy Loh


April 3rd, 2013 at 11:51 pm    

T’was a really fun playdate! Thanks again for organising!


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:46 pm    

love this idea! my son does painting in his infant care and he loves it too!

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