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Messy Fun with Finger Painting

Messy Fun Finger Painting

In early childhood education Finger Painting is often the very first painting experience children will encounter. 

As simple as it may be putting paint into trays for little fingers to play and paint with, there are numerous reasons why finger painting is beneficial for child development and learning.

What you will Need?

Finger Painting Ideas for Kids

All you need is a bit of paint and little hands and fingers!

Let’s PLay

Some Ideas:

  • Place small blobs of paint onto a large tray (the lid of a plastic container is great for this).
  • Make a rainbow by placing small blobs of paint, each colour of the rainbow in a row onto paper. Then blend and mix the paints together using your fingers and hands.
  • Create patterns, drawings, numbers, words and shapes in the paint on a tray and place a piece of white paper over the top to create an imprint of the finger paint drawing.
  • Finger Painting is so much fun completed on an easel or a glass window.

Let’s Learn

Learning Benefits of Sensory Finger Painting

Although we would prefer that our kids completed mess free activities to avoid the paint on the walls, furniture and their clothes, the benefits of finger painting are numerous.

1.  Finger painting is easier for little fingers that are not yet ready to manipulate a brush.

2.  Sensory experience of exploring paint, textures and prints.

3.  Fine Motor Development: Finger Painting strengthens the finger and small hand muscles developing pre-writing skills.

4.  Colour recognition and children can discover informally about mixing and exploring colours.

5.  All the senses are involved: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and (if you use edible paint) tasting!

6.  Hand-eye coordination and control.

7.  Experimentation and exploration of paint as a new tool for discovery.

Finger Painting for Toddlers

Once all the paint is mixed together it makes such a delightful colour of brown and purple but the learning benefits and fun outweigh the prettiness of this activity.

8.  If you place the paper on the floor, large muscle control and balance could be improved.

9.  There is a focus on the process, not on the end result or the finished product.

10.  Finger Painting promotes self-expression, creativity and imagination.

11.  Language development: talking about the creative process of finger painting, what the child is painting and colours.

12.  Kids learn that they can manipulate and be in control of their surroundings.

13.   It is MESSY, which also means it is FUN!

57 thoughts on “Messy Fun with Finger Painting”

  1. My grandson said “look at me Gigi, I’m a rock star!” He had such a thick layer of vasaline on his head and face he looked like he had a mask on! It took many washings to get it out, lol

  2. Shirley McDonald

    I fixed up 2 containers of rice with lots of items to hide in the rice, measuring spoons to measure, and cups to pour rice into muffin tins. This was an awesome activity to develop those motor skills. However, one day the kids decided it would be fun to scatter the rice all over the table and on the floor – a huge mess!

  3. My son had a big bowl of spaghetti Bolognese in the red sauce and he had the sauce all over his face and his clothes and hands were just stained with red sauce, the floor was covered as well

  4. My son and I just made a frame for his father for this fathers day. I layed out a huge blanket on my living room floor, mind you my son is 11 months old and a big chunky baby lol, and I made a color swatch with red yellow and blue for him. He first dipped a finger in the blue n looked up at me n I said go ahead baby…..so he dove in, lol. He rubbed that paint all over the frame and all over himself, he looked up at me with a huge smile while looking thru one of the picture holes. That baby was covered from his hair to his toes in paint and was loving it so much he covered mommy too 🙂 I love playing with my son, I think the creativity expands the mind.

  5. kylie hamilton

    I let my child stand in paint then walk along a long piece of paper but he turned it into a slip and slide paint all over his clothes all up the hallway then all over my carpet arghh

  6. My 3 year old daughter, who is now 8, decided to enjoy painting with the poo from her diaper during her nap time. I entered around time she would wake and found it in every place possible. Oh the look of pride on her face was priceless. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo as I was sticker shocked. Haha.

  7. I had given the kids grated soap, water, shredded coloured paper, some big bowls and spoons and they set to work. Once they’d had enough fun doing that, I gave them a big piece of paper to put the mix onto but it was much more fun for them to take all their clothes off and put the goo all over each other. Then both of them looked at me and then at each other…before I knew it I was covered too. Lots of giggles and lots of fun!!

  8. My son covered in shaving cream.His comment
    When I came across him was “I want to look like
    Daddy.He does it everyday and you dont get cross or

    Punish him” Too precious for words

  9. My son sprayed yoghurt all down that hall way, he thought it was great fun and proceeded to spread it around with his fingers

  10. The worst was an explosive nappy incident in the middle of the supermarket. I had a total brain freeze at first & then just dumped my trolley on the check out guy, told him there a clean up in aisle 6 and make my escape.

  11. She decided to help clean out the grease trap outside of the kitchen when you have a septic tank. It catches all the grease etc, which would account for the discusting smell. It got all over her and her clohtes and the smell stck to her for days. She will never ever help do that job again!

  12. Two year old was eating chocolate ice cream in just a diaper. Got it all over her face, belly and the table. It was messy but she look so darn cute.

  13. My daughter was 4. She polished her father’s shoes with black shoe polish. Apart from the shoes, she had it all over her face, hands, arms, legs & clothes… She was all covered in black but i loved her for caring for her father

  14. Things always seem to happen while I go to the toilet. My middle child couldn’t wait for me to return so when she ran out of paper to paint with she decided to paint elsewhere on the table a chair the floor.

  15. Ah, when my youngest was less than a year old, she reached through her crib slats and grabbed a dirty cloth diaper that I had left on our bed…I don’t think I need to say much more than that! 🙂

  16. Danielle Macreadie

    Between my two boys they managed to coat my whole kitchen, dining room and family room with talcum powder! With footprints all through lounge room

  17. My 1yr old son opened a tube of zinc and castor oil nappy rash cream and mashed it into our cream carpet , he then tried to wipe it up using a red face washer, that turned the stain a pinky brown colour
    . Turns out nappy rash cream doesn’t come out ( even with professional cleaning ), we had to to rip up the stained carpet and replace it with new carpet

  18. I can’t go past the time my daughter got hold of the bright pink self stamping ink and proceeded to paint her face, hands and any clothes she could reach. Lol she looked like a bright pink Oompa Loompa. Lots of scrubbing and soaking to get that off.

  19. Jennfier Ryan Ouckama

    Our daughter got into the vasaline jar and decided to paint her whole body and all the areas she could touch. Took forever in the bath to degrease her!! 🙂

  20. My son gotten a big pot pan ketchup, relish, chocolate syrup, and baby powder 3am in the morning waking up my daughter, so they too decided to redecorate their room covered in chocolate syrup and baby powder on the walls, floor, the curtains, their bed matteress, blankets, and all over there toys while doing that 3 in the morning.

  21. 6 liters of coconut water was at the bottom of our cupboard along with a big bag of coconut flour… Cupboard does was accidently left open and well the little miss made a nice coconut concoction for us to clean up!

  22. My 2 year old and I bake cupcakes together and she thoroughly enjoys decorating them. One morning I was in the shower and she decided to bake cupcakes on her play kitchen. I came out to broken eggs all over her play kitchen and lounge room carpet and a whole packet of 100s and 1000s all over the lounge room floor. It smelt like egg for days after that in our house.

  23. The biggest mess my son made was while waiting for me to wake him up in the morning, he decided to take off his dirty diaper, which was dirty with bm , and painted it all over his crib, the walls around it, and also himself! I freaked out too much to take a pic, but wish I had!

  24. My son is a little cowboy who cannot resist a good mud puddle and one day he found the perfect one. Head to toe covered in it! Best part is I got a picture and he couldn’t be happier in it. 🙂

  25. My two year old squeezed out all the honey from a big bottle on the floor and ate as much as he could while covering his face,hair and clothes with the sticky honey. Then he decided to clean his sticky hands on the wall and liked it so much that he painted the kitchen wall and pantry door with it.

  26. I was frustrated with my daughter one night, (8 months) she wouldn’t let me spoon feed her yoghurt and custard (separated but on the same sitting) so I placed the bowl in front of her and let her go! It was on the walls the table the chairs her in her hair and the cat!

  27. The biggest mess my son made was when he got hold of his sisters coloured hairspray he sprayed his hair his clothes the ealls and floor what a mess lol

  28. Something to wake up to, my daughter came in to wake me up with white I had no idea what covered all over her hands and clothes with the comment “mum the rabbits look very pretty now!” I’ve never jumped out of bed so quickly! Raced to find two very stunned looking rabbits covered in the same white goop with dirt and sticks and glitter all over the poor things, took me a bit to realise my daughter found my husbands hair wax. Needless to say everyone had a lovely early morning bath.

  29. My son Jake aged 2, decided to put Vegemite on the walls, the carpet and himself. At first I thought it was something else smudged all over the place, luckily for me it was only Vegemite.

  30. Amanda Lindsay

    There have been a few but the one that sticks out the most was when we were living with the in-laws before we moved into our house. All was quiet I was babysitting and thought the girls were being very quiet so I called out, my daughter came running around the corner with her hands behind her back. I asked ‘what do you have?’, nothing she answered then my mother in-laws dog came running around the corner with yellow spray paint all over her, my daughter then showed me her hands covered in yellow paint I went outside and found the side of our fridge painted yellow to. All I could do was laugh and grab the camera, our fridge still has a little of the paint on it.

  31. Biggest Mess made was by my 18month old son in the bathroom mixing Johnsons baby powder with shampoo and a lovely burgundy hair colour mix 🙁

  32. The biggest mess to date my little princess has made is when we decided to do toast art, painting toast with a colourful milk mixture. Not only did she paint the bread she covered everything in sight with the mixture and wanted it all to go in the toaster.

  33. My 2 year old daughter got a whole jar of Nutella and rubbed it into the cream colored carpet and all I could see when I found it was chocolate footprints leading to the bathroom where I found her absolutely covered head to toe in Nutella standing on her kiddie chair washing her hands!

  34. When my son was around 1-1.5 year old, he decided to see how it feels to touch his dirty diaper with number 2 on it, and then he touched the toilet water with his dirty hands trying to clean his hands!!!

  35. Natasha Andrews

    Miss 4 decided that her new metallic oil pastels were just so stunning she needed to use them on everything – the carpet, her linen, her (and her little sisters dresses) AND her face!!

    Oh I paid for that 30 minutes of “quiet” play!

    That stuff is SO hard to get out of fabric – we still have reminders of it in the house (carpet and linen) almost 4 years later !!!

  36. Sudocream all over child, all through hair, all over walls, furniture – essentially everything he touched! Very difficult to clean, so thick and sticky!!

  37. When my twin girls were 18 months they both got into a brand new tub of nappy cream. The girls were very quiet so I went to suss them out there they were in their bedroom with happy cream from one end of the room to the next. They were covered from head to toe. They also decided they would do each other’s hair. Took me hours to clean their room plus two little gremlins.

  38. Master 4 decided to ‘draw’ on himself and miss 1.5 year old….with bright red Revlon lipstick…it was everywhere all over both their faces, arms and legs and the bedroom mirror too also decided to add talcum powder to the mix too-oh what a mess. ‘Just wanted to be like you Mummy’ was his reply….

  39. jenny easterbrook

    I thought I had luxury of getting my hair done at home, well while having colour washed out I’d given miss 2 a few spoons of yoghurt to eat. Hearing let it snow from bathroom hairdresser and I went to investigate. Miss 2 had spread yogurt all over herself and loungeroom and when run out had got the tub from fridge and continued up the hall. The adage a little goes a long way is true here.

  40. My Son when he was was 1 yrs old broke a whole carton of eggs all over my kitchen floor , it took me forever to clean up it was a nightmare !

  41. This has happened twice in my family. Once when my oldest was 1 1/2 and and again when my youngest was about 14 months. With each child they had been napping, so when we went to check on the. We found our little boy covered from head to toe in poop and he was using it to place hand prints all over the walls surrounding his crib.

  42. A 2 kilo packet of flour from the pantry, some how he climbed up two shelves in the pantry and knocked it down. It landed with a big splat and flour went everywhere. From there he fingered played with it and dusted it all over the cupboards. He never liked sensory play do when I saw him with the flour I let him go as I knew the vacuum cleaner would clean it up so quickly plus it was cute to see hand prints all over the front of the cupboards.

  43. Gemma Westacott Blair

    Sudocrem, it’s always the Sudocrem! No matter where I hide the pot, my son can find it and he just loves squishing it all over everything! The stuff is practically impossible to remove from fabrics, carpets etc so naturally that’s what he’ll rub it over! Worst time was when he ran through the ENTIRE house like Usain Bolt, smearing Sudocrem on all the walls, couches, cushions as he went, with the poor Mum in desperate pursuit trying to grab the pot and wipe his hands! I obviously lost the race!

  44. my son had hotdogs when he was 1 year old and after 10 mins his hair was red from tomato sauce and he had put pieces of sausage up his nose and all over my walls and floors, i did not know where to start to clean up, absolute nightmare!!!!

  45. My then 3yo found a bucket of walllpaper glue in the garage and decided to have some fun with it.
    Pretty much everything in there had his little handprints, including my car!!!!
    But the real surprise was finding out his 10mont old brother had glue all over him, his hair was a glue mess!!!!

  46. The one mess that make me laugh so much was when my son and 2 cousins were 1 year old not sure which one got the can of chocomilk but they start putting on each other like sand and of course eating it too it was a big mess they look so funny! When we found them it was hilarious.

  47. While making a slime recipe that didn’t turn out but it was still great fun in the process and a great learning experience for both me and the kids we covered the carpet in this so called slime . We were also covered head to toe. Good job the carpet was a darker colour. We also had great fun with the carpet clearer adding a few to many bubbles it was like a foam party.

  48. Luckily not too big of messes yet… But our 3 and 5 year old I’m sure won’t disappoint. Biggest mess thus far has been first birthday smash cakes and luckily we were prepared with each child stripped down to only a diaper and the high chair on plastic mat before starting 🙂

  49. Well, my son is special needs. Hate to be brutally honest but poop is the biggest mess he/we deal with.

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Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

Hi and welcome to Learning 4 Kids!

My name is Janice and I am an Early Childhood Teacher in Australia.

I have a strong passion and love for teaching and creating meaningful learning experiences for my students. What I love most is watching children discover in those amazing light bulb moments. I hope Learning4kids brings you some useful ideas.

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