Toddler Art: Fingerpainting

You may find that when you do art with toddlers, it doesn't always go exactly as you had planned it to go.  It is a hard reality to face and one of the reasons I think people don't do art with their littlest of kids.  However, twos and under love art and tend to be the most creative.  They won't do things the way we want them to and that is exactly what you want in an artist.

This week I took out the fingerprinting for my two year old.  She has never had the opportunity to explore with finger paint.  I feel bad for this, but repented and brought out this activity 15 months too late.  I suggest if you have a baby to look up the many wonderful edible finger paints out there.  If I was to do it over again, Grace would have been finger painting with food long ago.

Often when you introduce a new medium to toddlers they will hesitate at first.  They study and try to figure out what exactly they want to do.

I opened the yellow finger paint first.  Grace looked at it.  Then she asked for a paint brush.  I told her to use her fingers.  She slowly dipped a finger into the yellow and put a little on her paper.

Then with a very worried look on her face asked for a wet wipe.  I assured her that it was okay to get messy.

She wasn't so sure and decided to put the paint on by dumping the jar upside down.  The paint was so thick it stayed in and made little smudges on the paper.  That was just how Grace wanted it.  No mess on her hands.

So we did finger paint and got almost no paint on our fingers.

Then the next time we brought out the paint (about a week later) things were different.  She started out just turning the tub of paint over and making circles and smudges.  Then gravity took hold and all the green came out onto the paper.

With no other tools in site she got the paint on her fingers.  Then she got more paint on her fingers, on the paper, and everywhere.  Success!!!!

I am so glad that she got it.  I didn't even realize she would be so scared to make a mess.  She probably washed her hands 15 times as she painted.  She kept wanting her fingers clean, but she did get in and get her hands dirty and enjoy the fun of the finger paint!

That is how it goes with toddlers.  An activity may seem like a failure the first time, but keep doing it.  They experience things different each time they try.  They may even surprise you and do something in a way you never thought of yourself.  Good moms let kids do things over and over again in many ways!

Right now she is sitting doing the activity a third time.  Just seeing the pictures doing this work made her want to do more.  Today her hands are covered in paint and she is really getting the mess on!  Three times the charm.

If you like this post vote for me as the Best Craft for Kids Blog


  1. Laura,
    Loved the pictures and the story here. It was amazing to see how she progressed from caution to free play.
    It's true - the little ones will most likely not do as you expected or intended them to, but then, that's the whole purpose - to let them be and use their fertile imagination and curiosity and be as artists are... :)
    Enjoyed reading this post.
    Hope you are doing great... :)

  2. So cute- Love the photos- we haven't done this in a long time but my monkeys sure do like getting messy.

  3. Love this post. My grandson is 25 months. I watch him 3 days a week & last week we finger painted for the first time. His response was so much like your little lovelie's! He really doesn't like to get anything on his hands, but found many ways spread the paint anyway. He especially enjoyed "stamping" with sponge shapes. And he was so proud of his creation! Everyone that came to the house that day, he took their hand and led them over the the table to show them. Next we're going to try play dough...and more painting!

  4. Laura...cute post! I LOVE how excited her face is when she's showning off her messy paint hands :] She's so cute!

  5. Thanks so much for linking up in our Real Life Tips Blog Link up!!! Love seeing other parents build memories with their kids! Come back and share some more another time! hopping over from Real Life Deals and Hobbies on a Budget

  6. Awe...how sweet! I'm glad she's enjoying it now.

  7. Cute! I should get some out for my almost 3 year old!

  8. This is SO true! It's the process that matters. I have had tons of projects not go the way I imagined. :-) Thanks for linking up @ Real Life Tips Link Up. Vicky @ www.messforless.net


I love comments. Thanks so much. Feel free to leave your blog or email info so I can get back to you.