3 Toddler Tested Paint Activities

toddler painting
Images via Samantha Chase

If your toddler is anything like mine, anything messy is fun. In our house, that translates to a lot of painting with fingers and, yes, sometimes even toes. But, this month, I wanted to push the painting envelope a little bit and introduce my daughter to some new painting techniques she might enjoy. We’ve selected the top three most engaging, creative and just plain fun ideas to share with you. Enjoy!

Painting with Fly Swatters

Image via Samantha Chase
Image via Samantha Chase

This one should definitely be done outside. And, even outside, it is going to be super messy. The good news is it is totally worth it and if you leave them mostly unclothed, you can just hose them off when you are done. This was by far my daughters most enjoyed painting experience. I, admittedly, had a lot of fun with this one as well.

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need washable paint (I found Crayola’s finger paint is very versatile and can be used for all three projects), heavy weight paper, paper plates, and of course fly swatters. You can usually find the heavier weight paper, paper plates and fly swatters at the dollar store.
  2. Lay out or hang your paper. We chose to hang ours on the fence using thumb tacks. If you prefer, you can lay your paper on the ground and secure it in place with some rocks.
  3. Pour your paint on the paper plates. I used one plate for each color. You could also use a washable dish to hold your paint, but I liked the idea of being able to just throw away the paint mess when we were done.
  4. Dip the fly swatter in the paint so that the swatter is completely flat on the paper plate. Then, go to town swatting and splattering paint all over your paper. I think you will be pleased with what you and your toddler create!

Painting with Cotton Balls 

Image via Samantha Chase
Image via Samantha Chase

I was hesitant to try this one. I didn’t really see the point of painting with cotton balls attached to clothespins. However,  I was pleasantly suprised when we gave this one a try, because my daughter definitely saw the value in it. She loved this simple painting activity so much we have done it several times since. 

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need cotton balls, clothes pins, paper plates and paper. You can use the finger paints from the first activity for this one as well.
  2. Lay your paper on the table. I find it helpful to tape the paper in place. Otherwise it is constantly slipping and sliding while my daughter is trying to create her masterpiece.
  3. Pour your paint on the paper plates. Again, I like to use paper plates for this purpose because of the super simple clean up. You can, however, use washable dishes and just wash them when you are finished.
  4. Attach a cotton ball to several clothespins in the same way that you would use them to hang clothes or keep multiple sheets of paper together.
  5. Dip the cotton ball into the paint while holding onto the clothespin. Help your toddler explore the various different effects your makeshift paintbrush can have, from simply “dotting” the paper to creating long streaks of color

Pasta Painting

Image via Samantha Chase
Image via Samantha Chase

Kids have probably been painting pasta since the beginning of time and for a good reason. It’s fun! We took this oldie but goodie and shook it up a bit. My daughter loved not only painting her pasta but using it to create her very own necklace as well.

  1. Gather your supplies. You will need paint (again, use the same bottles as before), pasta that can be strung onto yarn (like ziti), and a clear plastic container with lid. It would also be helpful to have some wax paper and some yarn but it is not essential. If you have some glitter on hand, you might want to grab that as well.
  2. Have your toddler put a handful of the pasta in the plastic container. Then, let them choose a color of paint to add to the mix. If you decided to use glitter, add some now as well.
  3. Put the lid on your pasta, paint and glitter mixture. Shake the container back and forth and up and down for a minute or two.
  4. Take out each piece of pasta and let it dry on wax paper (if you don’t have wax paper, you can let the pasta dry on a plate but it may stick).
  5. Once the pasta is dry, you can string it onto some yarn to make a necklace for your toddler (or yourself). Or, if you or your toddler prefer, you can use your painted pasta to make another work of art by gluing it on paper to make numbers, letters or fun shapes.

Which of these three activities would your toddler enjoy most? 


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3 Toddler Tested Paint Activities

Samantha Chase is math major turned elementary school teacher turned stay at home mom extraordinaire. She spent three years studying mathematics at the University of Southern Florida before deciding it was time to make a change. She switched her major to Elementary Education and became a teacher. After graduation, Samantha spent 6 years (and a lot of sleepless nights) working in a high poverty school in the heart of St.Petersburg, Florida. She taught the first, fourth and fifth grades and lear ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Dario Dario says:

    These are some fun, great ideas to do.

  2. Awww I can’t wait to see my baby painting I hope she love art as much as I do!!

  3. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    Cute ideas. Really like the last one on turning it into a necklace.


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