“You leave crayons out?” My sister asked me this a couple of months ago, when she saw the drawing utensils (including, I admit, one pen) we had out on our nearly 3-year-old daughter’s little table. “Yes. She knows now just to draw on paper,” I responded.
Well, I was wrong. Earlier this month, my daughter drew all over two walls in her play area (see the image to the right). I was in the kitchen, thinking my little one was quietly entertaining herself with her play kitchen.
In response, and in an effort to keep my daughter from doing more wall scribbles, I utilized a strategy that is today’s hint for what to do when your child draws on the wall: I created a drawing wall. In other words, I covered one wall in the playroom with paper that my daughter can actually draw on (see the image below).
This idea came courtesy of my mother, who suggested getting a roll of white paper (think a butcher paper roll) and covering one wall with it, providing my daughter with a special wall where she can draw to her hand’s content.
In fact, drawing on walls covered with paper was the activity at my 5-year-old birthday party. My mother had covered the hallway walls in our Chicago apartment with white paper on which she let the little party attendees color away.
It turns out my mother isn’t the only proponent of similar ideas for keeping kids from drawing all over the walls. The blog of U.K. retailer Room to Grow, for instance, suggests that “once your kids are old enough to learn that drawing on the walls at random isn’t acceptable behavior, you can actually treat them to a drawing wall of their own” in their playroom or bedroom.
The beauty of my mother’s approach, however, is that drawing on a paper-covered wall doesn’t actually cause more damage to a home, assuming kids can keep their coloring to the paper and assuming that the paper comes off the wall without ripping off paint or wallpaper. Instead of paper, you also could use wall decals that can be drawn on, or more permanent solutions like coating one wall with dry-erase, or chalkboard, paint.
I followed my mom’s advice and used DAP StikArounds removable adhesives to hang paper from a coloring paper roll I had picked up off the clearance rack at Target. Though initially my daughter seemed most interested in the adhesives, she now seems to be a big fan of coloring on her paper wall.
Hopefully she’ll continue to keep her drawing marks contained on this one wall (following the advice in the bible of how to talk to children so they’ll listen, we continue to let our daughter know that “we just draw on paper”). And of course, in addition to the coloring wall, I’m now keeping the drawing materials out of my preschooler’s reach when an adult isn’t there to watch her every move.
What are your tips for handling when your child draws on the wall? What kind of drawing walls, or similar solutions, have you created?