Two gallons of paint spread across the house quickly with five brushes and 18 hands. The three oldest led the littlest ones, who took turns with the smaller brushes. Within a few hours we had painted a second coat on the back and a first coat on the north side of the house.

Painting an entire house can be a manageable task with lots of help. Children of all ages can participate. Teach them the basics when they are young and as they grow and learn they are able to accomplish more. A few weeks ago the oldest kids cleaned the house with a high pressure washer taking off years of accumulated dirt, volcanic ash and even flakes of paint. The little kids washed with rags and soap the lower areas they could reach. After an hour they mostly just played with the water and forgot all about their job.

Boy painting from atop a ladder

Elijah takes to the ladder to do the high work

Today we worked in 4 teams of painters. Elijah took to the ladder accessing the highest reaches of the siding and trim. Megan handled the cutting. Jennifer led Issac, Zoe and Zeke taking broad brush strokes. While I worked towards them with a 4” brush and helped catch any runs and blotchy strokes.

A few things I keep in mind when painting with the kids:

  1. Buy quality brushes. I prefer nylon brushes for latex paint. For cutting I purchase 2.5” angled and straight brushes. The angled is great for tight spots. The bulk of the coverage will be from 3” and 4” straight wall brushes. Look for one with a thick set of bristles. Avoid the cheap brushes that cost below $8. These are a waste of time and useless even in the hand of a professional. Plan on buying $8-$15 brushes for the younger kids and $12 to $18 brushes for the older kids.
  2. Lessons on using a brush. Teach your kids to respect tools and use them properly. The most important lessons include keeping the brush clean, off the ground, and from breaking bristles by jamming the brush directly into hard surfaces.
  3. Focused area to work for the little ones. Give each child a responsibility and an area to work. Then come back often to clean up drips, to even out the paint and align the brush strokes in one even direction. At worst they will only be helping to get the paint on the house and the rest is up to you!
  4. Teenagers. The teens need some lessons and then you out of the way. Once they know what to do, get them started on their own part of the house. Check on their work every hour or two to encourage them and help correct any mistakes.
  5. Feed the crew! The kids once stacked 3 cords of wood while sharing a 12 ounce bag of M&M’s. Feeling a little bad for having extracted so much energy for so little reward, I bought them all a treat at McDonalds while they painted – burgers and iced frappes. Give your kids something they really enjoy but don’t get often. I like pouring on the added sugar and caffine in the last two hours of work. It always brightens our mood and gives a little boost that wears off before we head inside for a rest.

About The Author

With 10 kids, family is what we are all about. Whether building a shed or floating a river it’s about the time we spend with each other. Our adventures offer an opportunity for us to endure a challenge, take risks, and bond as brothers and sisters, parents and children, husband and wife. Find more about Childventure or visit Mike on Google+ and Twitter.

Painting a home provides both decorative and protective functions. In its decorative function, painting adds warmth, accent, and interest. I enjoyed reading the blog.