While painting yesterday afternoon, my five year old daughter exclaimed, "Mom, now this is an art table!"
While their 19 month old brother napped, we set up the kitchen table for painting. They (Sarah - age 5 and Abby - age 9) were able to use the acrylic paints which they find much more enjoyable than the simple washable watercolor palettes that they are allowed to use with their little brother under-foot.
As much as I enjoy reading curriculum driven art books for children with step by step projects for the children, it seems that they get much more out of just creating. As they get older, I observe them looking through these art books themselves and choosing a project to do. These programmed projects seem more appropriate for children once they reach the age to follow the directions themselves and are self-motivated to follow through to completion.
Also, as parents we set a wonderful example for our children by working on and completing creative projects. Children are very observant and before you know it, they may ask you to teach them to knit, crochet, sew, etc....