Picasso in a can
I don't usually talk about or recommend software or IT things, but I would make this exception for the great drawing and painting programme for children (and the young at heart!) – Tuxpaint.
Since I installed it on our ageing home iMac, my son Jacob has been really enjoying it, and I've been relieved that he won't crash our Photoshop or change its tool settings or some such technical hiccup. Tuxpaint is easy to use (because it's designed especially for kids), fun, and, best of all, it's free! The images above and below are ones Jacob and I did together, and I have to admit to having a lot of fun with them!
I think it can provide continuing interest as your child grows, and has the potential for making illustrations for kids' school assignments. I first heard about Tuxpaint from my favourite website for kids' activities, Kiddley.com, so I will quote their description and recommendation here:
Tuxpaint … features quirky sound effects and a simplified interface that is ideal for younger children. All the basics that you’d expect in a drawing package are available, including brushes of various sizes and styles, shape tools, and a collection of ‘magic’ effects that can be applied to a drawing.School holidays begin today in Victoria's school term. If you're looking for something that will keep your children engaged and having fun – not just occupied – this is something great. (Also, take a look around the Kiddley site for lots of craft ideas and fun activities.)
The best feature is a great set of stamps that lets kids plonk down fully formed cut-outs (animals, coins, hats, spacemen, food, symbols etc) into their work of art.
You will find Tuxpaint in versions for various computer systems - including Mac OSX. That's a huge bonus for me! Another drawcard is the fact that it's an open source software project developed by volunteers! Be sure to download the additional stamp pack (which is a separate file, also with different versions for various operating systems) because the stamps are half the fun. Download Tuxpaint online here. Have fun!