Why Toddlers Should Start Painting
Painting is a way for children to do many important things: convey ideas, express emotions, use their senses, explore color, explore process and outcomes, and create aesthetically pleasing works and experiences.
Art also helps young children understand cause and effect through opportunities to create using a Process Art methodology - meaning that children learn by doing. For instance, a child may be experimenting with colors and end up with something that looks muddy. Even an unintended outcome offers opportunities for a child to learn by doing.
Painting with young children allows us to see much more than a simple picture. If we observe with careful eyes and ears, we can gain tremendous information about each child. We can share with families what we have discovered and why we feel it is important.
Toddlers Love Finger Painting
When children are finger painting, they are using smaller muscles in their hands and strengthening these small muscles. From a speech-language pathology perspective, finger painting can also help children develop communication skills.
Sure, it’s a messy art activity but can you appreciate the many sensory experiences happening? This post includes how to make homemade finger paint, a recipe and some fun crafts and activity ideas.
If you want to involve your toddlers in finger painting you’ll want to find a paint set that doesn’t stain kids’ fingers.
Choosing Washable Paints
Washable paint is designed to wash easily off skin, fabrics, surfaces, and walls. These types of paints don't bind to surfaces permanently.
Easy for little fingers: Kids, particularly toddlers, find it hard to hold a brush or a crayon. However, finger painting is a much easier exercise for them as brushes are lightweight tools to work with.
Improves sensory experience: Finger painting involves all major senses – visual, auditory, kinesthetic – thereby improving the sensory capabilities of kids.
Development of fine motor skills: Finger painting is an excellent physical exercise as it involves the muscles of the fingers and hands as well as the shoulders, neck and the back.
Recognizing colors: Finger painting involves exploring a range of colors which teaches kids shades, values, and hues through mixing and creating new colors.
Improves hand-eye coordination: Painting is an excellent way of improving hand eye coordination in kids. While painting may seem simple, it involves some complex hand movements.
Language and speech development: Once a finger painting is created, children should be encouraged to talk about their piece of art. For example, they can talk about the different colors used or the different objects they’ve tried to create. Additionally, finger painting provides kids an avenue to express their feelings in a visual rather than verbal way, which further helps in language development.
Emotional benefits of painting
Expression of Feelings
Finger painting provides unparalleled freedom of self-expression. There’s no limit to the expression of feelings. Kids put all their feelings on a piece of paper simply by dipping their fingers into paint. While painting, colors that reflect emotions are chosen subconsciously. For example, you may select the color red to express anger or green to express hope. At times you may be confused, and the painting will help you depict your confused state of mind. Once you get your emotions on paper, you’ll feel relieved and rejuvenated.
In modern times, most people find it hard to cope up with stress. Finger-painting can be an excellent stress-reliever. The sheer experience of using your fingers to create something fresh and new can be very uplifting emotionally and psychologically.
Whether it’s kids or adults, finger painting is a highly engaging and involved activity that improves concentration. As all the focus is directed toward a contained piece of paper, it’s a respite from the multiple things the mind is occupied with.
Build Rapport and Connection
Finger painting is a great bonding activity. Art and painting parties are a popular concept in the west. Organizations use finger painting as a teambuilding activity by having participants paint together on a large canvas.
Washable Painting Preparation
Gather Your Supplies – Gather all of the finger paint you need, and be sure you have water, paper towels for cleanup, and easel paper or trays. You may also need newspaper, a plastic tablecloth, or art mats to keep paint off the floor and tables. Plastic tubs will also be needed if you don't have a sink in the classroom or prefer not to use it.
Prevent Big Messes – Finger painting can be very messy, but it doesn't have to be. Try covering a table with newspaper or a large plastic tablecloth. Putting easel paper or trays out for each child to use when painting can help contain the mess and make moving paintings to another place to dry easy.
Start Painting – Give each child ¼ cup of yellow paint and ¼ cup of red paint. Encourage them to mix it together to make orange. Repeat with other color combinations. Have a spray bottle handy to spritz the papers with water if the paint begins to dry.
Make Handprints – At another table, have colored paper ready for children to make handprints when they are finished painting before they wash their hands. This will help get some of the finger paint off their hands before they go wash up while creating another art piece you can hang up or use for another activity.
Set Up a Cleanup Station – At a nearby table, set up a cleanup station. Prepare one dish tub full of warm, soapy water and another with warm, clean water. Have a stack of paper towels next to the water. Each child washes her hands in the soapy water, rinses in the clean water, and wipes off with the towels. You can also place soap and paper towels next to a classroom sink if you would rather have them clean up there.
Hang Children's Paintings – Finger painting paper has a tendency to curl after drying. Staple the painting to a second piece of paper to make hanging easier.
Wrapping it Up!
Provide opportunities for your children to be creative.
Want your child to get the most out of making art?
Finger painting is a highly productive pastime both for kids and adults. It can be done individually as well as in groups.
So what are you waiting for? Plan a finger-painting session soon, and experience the joy.