Baby’s 1st Finger Painting

baby's first finger paintInfant activities are tough to come by, but this was a hit and will be used again in our house for sure. When introducing your tiniest artist to colors and textures a great and safe way to do it is to use purees. No ingredients to worry about just plain veggie or fruit purees that they have already been eating. I don’t plan on packing this one away as a keepsake and would suggest taking a picture and not saving the creation! When my son was a toddler we did yogurt painting but my daughter is still too young for yogurt but toddlers love it!

  1. Gather your materials. I am using a plain white piece of construction paper so there are plenty of contrasts. The puree I am using is sweet potato, thick, bright orange and easy to make. All I did was bake a sweet potato then puree it with a hand blender. Please be sure you are only using purees that you have previously introduced to your child and know they will not have adverse reactions to.
  2. Tape your paper down to a high chair tray or table.
  3. Add a small spoonful of puree on the paper. Let your baby explore.While my daughter played I focused on using the words squishy, orange and wet. There is no specific right way of doing this but narrating their exploration ( and their play) is great for verbal development. You might feel silly at first but before you know it you’ll be talking to them about everything and teaching them about a lot too!
  4. When your baby does this it’s time to take the activity away and move on to something else like singing, reading and our favorite dancing!

Remember with infants you must be extra vigilant and never leave an infant unsupervised with any activity. This is not an activity to occupy them so a caregiver can get something done, this is for caregiver and infant to explore together.

Great Book For Babies

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series, including; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter actually sits looking at these pages instead of simply trying to eat the book, which in my opinion is a great review from a 6-month-old!

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  1. Amy says

    For Halloween we did a similar project with our 9-months-old while we decorated our pumpkins. We have 2 older kids and while we carved pumpkins with them we gave him a tiny pumpkin and some prune puree. It was a great way to involve him in our family time. He really enjoyed his finger painting experience and was entertained while the rest of the family was doing their pumpkins. Warning: he had to to go straight into the bath afterwards but it was totally worth it.

  2. molly says

    Our boys’ first finger painting experience was similar: yogurt with food coloring in it. Now at 20 months they’ve graduated to regular paints, although one has become squeamish about the “MESS! MESS!” on his fingers 🙂

    • Allison McDonald says

      Sorry Trudi I missed this question until now – I would follow your child’s lead. Use only things that your child is ready to use ( my daughter was only ready for food she’d already eaten like sweet potatoes… and see if they are interested. I would say sometime between 6-12 months is a great time for most but kids don’t fit in boxes so if your child isn’t ready by then it’s nothing to worry about.

  3. says

    Great ideas! I care for a mixed age group: an 8 month old, an 18 month old, a 26 month old, a 32 month old and twin 5 year olds. All but one come on a part time basis, so there is no day when everyone is present. My biggest challenge is finding activities for the younger children.
    You have an enormous bunch of baby/toddler tested projects, so I’ll be on your site a LOT! I only wanted to share my own bias – when I read about the baby painting with pureed food I thought not in this house!

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned – remembering the innumerable times I heard “You have to eat your dinner because children in India are starving” when I was growing up, or my absolute refusal to waste food – whatever the reason, I can’t use food for play, only to then toss it.

    I make one exception only – I have a multicolored rice table, which is a huge hit. My guess is it fits into my waste not, want not thinking because it can be used for years!

    Anyway, I will definitely be making my little guys happy because I’ll be using your creative ideas. Do you ever ask for or receive pictures from people who try out your activities? I’m always taking pics to share with parents, so I’d be happy to send some to you – ONLY if you’d like to see them. You could be far too busy, and I get that completely!

    • Allison McDonald says

      I love getting photos of my children doing projects! If I have permission I love adding them to my facebook page too.

      In regards to the food – while I would never tell a parent or caregiver to do something beyond their comfort level I will explain how I feel OK with using it. The food isn’t wasted. It is USED for the benefit of a child learning, exploring, and possibly getting more comfortable with that food. I know that the dry food I used in sensory bins are used for years. I save all of them and re-use them over and over. Nourishing a child is more than simply feeding them calories, this food is still feeding them knowledge, experience, and play which is vital as well. That is my take on using food in ECE.


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