9 Tips For Finger Painting With Your Toddler

finger painting for toddlers Of all the questions I get one of the most common is “How do you deal with the mess?” This is often followed by “I just can’t do messy stuff with my kids.”  If messy things really honestly upsets you I am here to tell you that it’s not worth the upset. If you will spend the whole time cleaning up after them, telling them to not do this or that it’s not worth it as an activity at your house. That’s OK. We all have our limits and not allowing messy art in your house doesn’t make you a bad parent.

If you are just nervous but eager to try it than these tips are for you. Over the years these have been my go to ways to make messy art like finger painting a wonderfully creative experience for my kids without me budding in every two minutes with a wipe interrupting their play. When we break up their play with wipes and cleaning up under them what we are saying is ” What you are doing is wrong, let me fix that.” or ” This is annoying me, let me make it right.” Sure this won’t register with every kid but most pick up on it and by nature most children want to please us. If we are going to let them be creative we need to find ways to make it work for all of us so we aren’t stepping in constantly.

These tips will help! These are old pictures of my now four and a half year old daughter, she was just under two when we did this activity.

finger painting with toddlers

1. If possible strap them in. If you use a booster seat for meals use that same chair for the activity. When their hands are covered in paint you don’t want them free to roam. If this isn’t an option position yourself so that you are between them and the area you do not want them to reach until their hands are clean. For us that’s the family room ( specifically the new couch)  only a few feet away from the kitchen where we were creating.

2. Tape their paper to a cutting board, or right to the table if the table is easily washable. This prevents the picture covered in paint from hitting the floor and other things on the way down. toddler finger painting tips to avoid mess

3. Dress your child in old clothes/ Pajamas. Little toddlers and smocks don’t really make a great pair. Avoid the dramatics and just let them wear something that you don’t care if it’s stained.

4. Use an old table cloth to protect your table. If you need to protect your floors try a shower curtain under your child’s chair.  happy tips for toddler finger painting

5. Give them control and let them have small dishes of paint to explore with. Toddlers are on the verge of a lot of new independence and giving them some control during activities is a great way to support this development. You don’t need to direct this activity at all!

6. Have extra paper ( and anything else you are using) on hand so you don’t have to leave them unattended for a second. tips for finger painting

7. Have wipes or a wet wash cloth, and a towel ready. Also don’t unbuckle the booster until after they are all the way clean.

8. If they are super messy my favorite trick is to have a big old bath towel ready and wrap them up in it, and go directly to the bath. toddler finger painting

9. After the painting is dry display it with pride! This seems obvious but it’s really important. Children need to their their art to complete the process. They are artists and should be proud of their work!

 

 

Need a great finger paint recipe? Try this one that your child can help make with you in the kitchen! Click on the image to find out how to make it.

rp_easy-finger-paint-recipe-3-455x451.jpg

 

 

Baby’s 1st Finger Painting

Infant 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 is plenty of contrast. 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!

Fine Motor Apples

by Katy

This is an extremely simple activity that helps children address two important areas of development: fine motor and sensory.

You will need a plain sheet of paper, a piece of card stock, a hole puncher, and a green crayon or marker.

Punch as many holes as you can in the card stock.

Place the card stock on top of your white sheet of paper.

Take red finger paint and guide your child to work it into each hole. Help your child isolate their pointed finger as they do this. The slippery/slimy texture of the paint is one that often poses a problem for kids with sensory issues, so don’t be surprised if they resist. Try to finish the activity, though. While we were doing the activity, Charlie, who often strongly resists finger painting, took such an interest in those little holes that he seemed to forget that he was touching his nemesis: finger paint.

Lift the card stock and wait for all your circles to dry.

Once the paint is dry, allow your child to draw green stems with the crayon/marker. Let them do it alone if they can, guide them if they are unable.

I you do have to help your child draw the stems, be sure to guide them in the most natural way possible. Show them a downward stroke even though it might feel strange depending on where you are standing while you help them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Handprint Christmas Tree {Baby’s 1st Christmas Craft}

hand print christmas tree

This handprint Christmas tree craft is a keeper. As you may imagine this was a very exciting day for us, the first time my daughter really got into the action with a project. Amazingly unlike her brother who ate the paint for over two years it didn’t even graze her lips. This kids craft can be done with any age with varying levels of adult involvement. I love how it turned out and this one will be packed away and saved for certain.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some heavy paper or paper grocery bag, a marker, green paint ( we added some glitter paint to ours too), construction paper, glue, scissors and paint tape.
  2. Start by cutting the bag  open and taping it down to the table. When you are crafting with a baby or toddler it’s going to be messy but you can take a few steps to help minimize it. By taping the paper you are using to the table as well as using a piece much larger than needed you avoid the paper and paint hitting the floor and protect your table.  Not to mention you also stop them from being able to grab the whole thing and trying to eat it.
  3. Trace their hand on a paper with the marker.
  4. Stack the other papers under and cut out.
  5. Draw the outline of a tree on the paper.  I did ours sideways so she could reach most of it for painting.
  6. Time to paint! Add the paint to the paper and let the baby spread it . What is this ?
  7. “Ooh I like it” Remember to narrate what they are doing. ” You are painting the tree, you are painting with green. Do you like it? Is it squishy?” Yes you might feel a little foolish but trust me it’s important.  You are teaching them even when they are too young to respond in ways we recognize.
  8. I had to take her out of her seat and dangle her over the table to reach the other side. She loved this. Obviously I have no picture …
  9. Clean baby up and place in the exersaucer. I had 2 baby wipes on hand to wipe her hands. I find they work on paint better than anything, then a wash cloth with warm water cleaned her right up.
  10. Add glue to the tree.
  11. Add the hand print cut outs. Let dry.
  12. Cut out .

Books


Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman arrived on my door step a few months ago sent to me by the publisher for review. It is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for each animal begins with the same letter as the animal does. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great option for a holiday gift.

SantaKid by James Patterson is a favorite library book in our house this year . My son inherited his love and curiosity of the inner workings of the North Pole from me and this book feeds that wonder. It also taps into something preschoolers are often seeking, power and a voice that gets heard. In the story Santa’s daughter saves the North Pole and Christmas from a corporate take over. I liked this book, and my son did too. It doesn’t focus on the religious celebration but rather on Santa and it doesn’t take a very sophisticated kid to know it’s make believe, 3 pages in my son said ” Mommy, this is a made up story right? Santa isn’t a regular Daddy, that’s silly!”  What it does is focuses on giving kids power to save something. Maybe it’s just my 4 year old but he spends all day pretending to save the day and this book spoke right to that desire to be powerful and good!

Olive, the Other Reindeer.by Vivian Walsh is probably familiar to you if not because of the book, maybe the TV special starring Drew Barrymore as the voice of Olive. If it’s new to you the story is simple, Olive is a little dog who after hearing a Christmas carol believes she is one of Santa’s reindeer . She journey’s to the North Pole and even though she can’t fly and is just a dog she saves the day . I love the vibrant and busy illustrations by J. Otto Seibold and Olive’s childlike innocence.  There is a reason this book has exploded into a character driven product, it’s cute and we can all relate to wanting to get to ride with Santa and his crew on Christmas Eve.

Finger Print Fish Craft

Fish are a wonderful theme for all ages, they are accessible to most anyone , even if you don’t have an aquarium to visit nearby a pet store can’t be too far away, and it’s free!  Also there are tons of great  books about fish , I review 3 new ones today. This craft can be made by all ages and would be great as a group project in a classroom with each student adding their unique fish .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper,washable  markers or stamp pads in various colors , scissors, glue, a marker scissors , googly eyes and if you wish blue paper for a background.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of fish. Make one or many. If your child can do this have them make the outline.
  3. Time to get messy! Color your finger tips or use a stamp pad and get ink on your finger tips.
  4. Print onto the fish.
  5. Keep going with all different colors. Make mention to your child about how lots of ink makes a darker print and less makes it lighter.
  6. Cut out the fish.
  7. If desired make a sea for them, I cut the top off my sheet of blue construction paper in a blue wave design.
  8. Glue the fish into the sea.
  9. Add eyes, smiles and let dry.

Books About Fish

Fish Schoolby Nancy Poydar is a really funny book that also manages to teach the reader a lot about fish.The story is about  Charlie who gets Wishy a goldfish for his birthday and then sets off to teach him all sorts of things. When his class takes a field trip to the aquarium guess who Charlie pops into a ziploc and into his backpack. My son loved the silliness of this book as well as the information that is shared as the class progresses through the aquarium. Lots of giggles and learning with this cute story.

Little Shark by Anne Rockwell is another accessible non fiction book from one of our favorite authors. We follow a shark from birth until it’s full grown in this book filled with fascinating shark facts. I like that it reads like a story because it sucks the reader in instead of just spouting off cold facts about these cool and scary ( to me) animals. I loved that my son was rather shocked that sharks don’t stay with their moms or their many siblings, and are instead solitary. I loved how it explained a little bit about the food chain in the ocean and how we get oxygen from air but fish get it from the water. Add this one to your shelf!

Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant by April Pulley Sayre is not a story but a chanting book. It lists a number of fish found in the United States in a rhyming text. Along with Trip Park’s funny illustrations the book works although my son didn’t ask to read it again after  our initial reading. I like the facts at the back of the book about each type of fish in the book and think that any child into fishing would probably be more interested in this book than my son was.