Finger painting is all about squishing, smoooshing, sliding, squelching, wiggling, and slipping around in paint. It’s more sensory experience that art actvity, and it is all about the process, the doing, and not much about the finished product.
We LOVE to finger paint at our house. We love to get our hands all slippery with paint, to mix the colours together, to make patterns in the paint, and to ‘rub’ them out and start all over again. It’s worth a little mess for all the joy it brings.
We always finger paint on a large flat surface. We usually just add a piece of plastic table cloth to the end of our dining table, this gives us a big surface that is accessible to more than one child, plus it is really easy to clean up – just take the piece of plastic outside and hose it down! You could also use a large plastic tray or, for little ones, the tray of the high chair is a great place to finger paint, it keeps little painty hands contained, and is easy to clean.
There are lots of great finger paint recipes online but we use these three simple recipes most often.
Shaving Cream Finger Paint
Food colouring or paint
Just squirt some shaving cream onto your finger painting surface, add a few drops of food colouring or children’s paint to the blobs of shaving cream and get the kids to mix in the colour as you paint. Quick, easy and non staining thanks to all the bubbles!
Gel Finger Paint
Cheap clear hair gel
Mix several drops of food colouring into the hair gel to make a clear yet vibrantly coloured finger paint with a really interesting texture.
Corn Flour Finger Paint
1 part corn flour – 1/3 cup
3 parts hot water – 1 cup
Food colouring or paint
In a saucepan, mix the cornflour with a little cold water to form a paste. Then add the hot water a little at a time, stirring vigorously to get rid of any lumps. Once all the water has been added cook the paste, stirring continuously, over a medium heat until it thickens and becomes opaque. Add a several drops of food colouring or a dollop of children’s paint and mix well. Add a squirt of hand soap to make this finger paint even easier to clean up. If you use food colouring and leave out the soap this is a safe edible options for little finger painters.
Of course you can always use commercially made finger paint. I suggest adding a splosh of hand soap to it as it makes it nice and slippery to play with and much easier to clean up.
This week we got a little crazy with our finger painting and added some fun accessories to our finger painting. Here’s what we used..
Cut zig zags or castle tops into some pieces of cardboard to drag across your finger paint making lines and patterns and squiggles!
Sequins and Glitter
Offer some sequins in a container and some glitter in shakers to add some colour, sparkle, and interesting texture to the finger paint. You could also add sand or salt for more interesting textures.
Rubber Bands on a Rolling Pin
Find some rubber bands that fit securely over your rolling pin, then you can roll patterns into the finger paint. Be warned, the colour in the finger paint will almost certainly stain wooden rolling pins, but I think it looks kinda pretty to have a multi coloured rolling pin!
Try out any kitchen utensils you can find that will stamp or scrape interesting patterns into the paint. We used a potato masher and a simple plastic fork.
We collected some plastic cars (and a plane) to drive through the paint. The different wheels made different patterns in the paint and it was lots of fun zooming them around. Go for plastic over metal cars if you can as they are easier to clean up.
We made bubble wrap mitts by folding ectangles of bubble wrap in half and tapping around two sides to make a pocket. You can slide your hand into the bubble wrap and swish, smoosh, and print with abandon.
Noah and I both had loads of fun experimenting and trying out different things with the finger paint. We did take a few prints off the finger paint on the table top – just press a large sheet of paper onto the finger paint and then slowly lift it up to see the print – but really this activity was all about mixing colours, squishing paint, making patterns and having fun!
We are already thinking about what else we could add to our finger painting next time… I was thinking some ice blocks might be interesting!