15 Safe And Easy Finger Painting Ideas For Toddlers

Baby Tips

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As a parent, the last thing you would want your child to do is to make a mess at home. However, one activity that makes a mess but can be a whole lot of fun for your toddler is finger painting. In fact, finger painting is a good way to engage your toddler in sensory play.

Children are tactile learners and this kinesthetic experience acts as a great stimulant for their mental and physical growth (1).

Learn more about the benefits of finger painting for toddlers in this post. We also give you some finger-painting ideas that will help you have a fun bonding time.

Benefits of Finger Painting for Toddlers

Finger painting involves using fingers to paint, and this tactile experience stimulates your child’s senses. Drawing or painting in general encourages cognitive development and strengthens their hands and fingers whilst improving fine motor skills (2).

This sensory play activity also allows your toddler to touch and feel different types of textures and materials, which can be emotionally soothing. Mixing two or more colors helps your child’s intellectual development, imaginative play, and creativity (1).

If you have been keeping your toddler from participating in finger painting as you fear they would make a mess, we have got you covered. Here are some handy tips and lots of finger-painting ideas for toddlers.

15 Easy Finger-Painting Ideas For Toddlers

Finger painting is done using fingers, but you may also add a few creative twists to it. Check out these easy finger-painting ideas for your toddler!

1. Get a variety of different objects to use as painting tools

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Although finger painting is done using fingers, your toddler may love using other objects at home such as brushes, rollers, spoons, forks, sponges, earbuds, wool, or even cotton wool balls. Not only is this visually stimulating but also allows your child to learn about shapes, objects, and textures.

2. Use cardboard shapes

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Help your toddler with finger painting by cutting cardboard pieces in a variety of shapes. For example, create a triangular border on cardboard and teach your child to dab into paint and drag it on the canvas. It will create a wonderful zig-zag border. You can try different shapes and patterns.

3. Use a rolling pin

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Have an old rolling pin lying around your house? It can be a great tool for your toddler’s finger-painting sessions. Put elastic bands on the rolling pin. Watch your toddler amazed at the patterns that emerge when they dip the rolling pin in paint and roll it on paper.

4. Use the wheels of your toddler’s old toy car

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A home with a toddler is sure to have multiple toys, including old cars with broken wheels. These wheels are a great tool for finger painting. Your toddler can dip these broken wheels in paint and create beautiful patterns on paper.

5. Use fruits and vegetables

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Finger painting is incomplete without using vegetables! Did you know that vegetables create different patterns when dipped in paint? This is also a good opportunity for your toddler to learn about vegetables and their textures.

6. Use shaving foam

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Did you know that adding paint to shaving foam is a creative and fun way for toddler finger painting? All you need to do is spray some shaving foam on a canvas and encourage them to mix colors to paint with their fingers.

7. Use printed templates

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There are plenty of ready-to-print templates available on the Internet. Get a few of them printed and teach your toddler to paint on them using their fingers. This is a good opportunity to teach them the names of different colors, objects, etc.

8. Use DIY gel paint

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To give your toddler a different texture of paints to play with, make a quick gel paint by mixing hair gel, and natural food coloring. Let your toddler create some glossy finger-painting pieces with this new paint!

9. Use different-textured paints such as glitter, sand, and sequins

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To give your toddler an idea about different textures, add some sand or glitter to their paint and let them get creative!

10. Paint on different materials and surfaces

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While paper is the easiest surface to paint on, give your toddler options of cloth, aluminum, tin foil, leaves, or bubble wrap to try finger painting. Apart from textures, painting on different surfaces helps in their overall cognitive development.

11. Decorate cardboard boxes

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Have cardboard boxes lying around? They are a great prop to give your toddler for finger painting. Painting cardboard boxes allows your child to get creative.

12. Stone finger painting

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If your toddler seems to be losing interest in finger painting, bring in a few rounded stones. Stone painting is fun and exciting. Your toddler can create some masterpieces that can be preserved for later.

13. Use frozen paint cubes

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To increase sensory play for your toddler, frozen paint cubes are a great idea. All you need to do is mix a little bit of paint with water, add them to an ice tray and freeze! Once frozen, let your toddler play with different colored ice cubes. The experience of painting with ice cubes is unique and may also aid their cognitive development. Parents need to exercise caution with this activity as ice cubes are cold. Therefore, cubes can be pushed on sticks to make it safe for your little one.

14. Use pre-formed stamps with finger paint

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Finger painting can get boring without tools and accessories. You can pick a few stamps of different shapes that your toddler can dip in paint and create designs and patterns. This is fun and a great learning experience for your toddler.

15. Use a straw

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Here is another way to get creative with finger painting. Dilute some paint with water to make it flowy. Teach your toddler to add a few drops of paint on paper and blow it into different patterns using a straw.

Tips For Finger Painting With Your Toddler

To enjoy finger painting with your toddler and not interrupt their play, here are a few tips that you can use!

  1. Strap your child on their chair. This will keep their movement and the mess they create restricted to one place.
  2. Use an old shower curtain below your toddler’s chair to prevent paint from spilling on the floor or carpet.
  3. Keep dry and wet wipes handy. Once your toddler is done with painting, use these wipes to clean them after they are done painting.
  4. Stick the paper they are painting on a table to prevent it from moving. It may be a good idea to spread an old cloth to prevent the table from getting messy during your toddler’s painting activity.
  5. Dress your child in old pajamas or old clothes. This way you don’t have to worry about them spoiling their clothes while they are at their creative best.
  6. Give your toddler some control while painting. Toddlers are just discovering their independence, and that will go a long way in their development.
  7. Keep extra paper, paints, tools, or any other equipment handy so that you won’t have to leave your toddler unattended any time during the activity.

Forget about the mess! Let your toddlers unleash their creative side. Also, there are plenty of edible and non-toxic finger paints available for toddlers so you can rest assured your children are safe. are you ready to try out a few activities with your little munchkin?


MomJunction’s articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

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