Prep: 5 Minutes / Activity Time: 5-10 Minutes

Whether your toddler is an old pro at getting messy or a first-time finger painter, she’ll enjoy moving paint around the paper and creating forms, shapes and colors. For this painting activity, you can purchase finger paint or create your own using the simple recipe below. Pre-writing skills are learned through play, and this sensory experience will help your child develop her hand muscles, work on fine motor skills and express herself creatively.


  • flour
  • food coloring (primary colors)
  • water
  • small plastic container
  • wax paper
  • paint brush (optional)



Step 1: Purchase finger paint from your neighborhood store or make your own using this recipe:

Finger Paint Recipe

  • Place two tablespoons of flour in a plastic container.
  • Add a few drops of water at a time until it becomes a thin paste.
  • Add 1-2 drops of food coloring and mix.

Step 2: Place a smock over your toddler’s clothes to protect the clothing or dress her in clothes that can get messy. 

Step 3: Tape down a large piece of wax paper in front of your child.  Place a small amount of paint on the wax paper. 


Step 1: Encourage your toddler to move the paint around using her hands or fingers.  Talk about the marks or forms you see her creating and ask her how it feels.  If she does not want to touch the paint, offer the paint brush instead.

Step 2: To enhance the experience, add another color to the one already on the paper to create a new color. Talk about what happens. 

To see what happens when certain colors are mixed together, read White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker.

Step 3: If you’d like to save your toddler’s creation, gently press a piece of blank paper on her marks, and lift up like a print. Hang to dry and for all to see!