As you read that scenario you probably had one of three reactions...
A. My child would NEVER find paints in my house
B. I can feel the anxiety overtaking me and I have developed a small twitch just thinking about it
C. Good for him, at least he climbed up to the table first
Which one are you?
If you most closely identify with A or B, I have great news that is often not discussed in the world of play. If there is a specific toy or activity that causes you to have a small panic attack at the thought of it, it probably should never come through the front door. This is the great thing about parenting, you are in charge and you can decide what play items are welcome in your play space. Having items that cause you stress are not a good idea because your child will sense that stress and play will become a burden.
Instead have a variety of toys and activities that you are comfortable with and even excited to engage in so that your child can have the freedom to explore and create without a fear of doing something wrong. This will allow for a peaceful home and a child who is constantly learning in a stress free play space.
Once in awhile, though, it's good to try something new and even something anxiety producing...we do it all the time. If we didn't there would be no sky diving, books that are impossible to put down, trees climbed and far less children brought into this world. Without paint, you can't get wonderful pieces of art that show growth, experience and adventure.
So remember, you choose the toys that don't bring anxiety into your home, you're the parent. And that choice will allow your child the freedom to explore and learn in a calm environment. But don't let fear stop you from experiencing good things (or just wait till kindergarten, they'll get to paint there!)