Mini Monets and Mommies: 7 Ways to Make Finger Painting More Fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

7 Ways to Make Finger Painting More Fun!

Finger paint is ... There are lots of ways to finish this sentence. Most kids would say fun or cool, some moms may echo this sentiment, and others would say messy, a pain in the butt or the thing that stained my precious white carpet blue. Whether you love, hate or have a love-hate relationship with finger paint, you can up the creativity factor by adding a little something extra in.

Art Ideas

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Try one (or all) of these options that add texture to the painting process or change the quality of how the medium feels:

1. Play sand: Don't take that dirty, mud-crusted sand out of your little one's backyard sandbox to use for his art adventures. Buy new play, or craft, sand instead. Add in enough sand to make the paint feel rough.
Colorful art
2. Baby or vegetable oil: A few teaspoons of oil will make the already slimy paint even more slick. This is ideal for little hands that want to slide and glide across the paper.
3. Kosher salt or course sugar: The mega-sized crystals will roll and spin under your child's fingers as he mixes and mashes them into the paint.
Salt art

4. Cotton balls: If you have the desire to make a messy project even messier, this one's a must. Hand the cotton balls over to your child, letting him have the honors of pulling them apart. Mix the cotton strands in with the paint. As he finger paints, they'll create a heavy texture and tornado-like design.
5. Glitter: Who doesn't love glitter? Most likely your vacuum cleaner doesn't. Let your child mix sparkling golds, greens, bronzes, silvers and rainbow assortments of hues into his finger paint before he starts his masterpiece or give him the go-ahead to our it directly onto a piece of paint-covered paper to play with. Did I mention that this is uber-messy? But it's pretty!
Sparkle Craft

6. Crushed leaves and grass clipping: Get back to nature. Go outside and collect fallen leaves or grass clippings in a paper bag. Roll the bag down, crunch up your green materials and spill them into the finger paints. The end result is a naturally bumpy, lumpy painting experience.

Nature art

Kids Plants

7. Flour: No, not flowers (which you can add to the previous suggestion). Spoon in some flour and you'll have instantly thicker finger paints that have a gluey consistency.
While I enjoy finger paint about as much as a toddler does, I am not a fan of the mess. To make the most of the activity -- minus the worry about paint spilling everywhere -- I have three words for you: Prep, prep, prep. Throw down some newspaper on your kitchen table (although heavy, watery paint will seep through) or go with something more substantial such as an old shower curtain liner or painter's tarp.

Kids' Art
There's virtually no way to mess-proof your kid. I suggest dressing him in clothes that you don't really care about. Even though the red finger paint says that it's washable, if you happen to let it sit for a few days it's not as likely to come out. One time, during a preschool art class that I was teaching, I had a 4-year-old ask me if he could have rubber gloves so that his fingers wouldn't get messy while painting. Here's my answer: NO! This project is all about exploring the paint and getting messy in the process. If your child freaks out over the mess, try something that is more on the tame side such as the "clay paint" I describe in the previous post.


  1. My daughter is 7 and still loves finger-painting! I love the idea of adding salt to it - such a different texture that would add!

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