Smearing paint all-over paper is really fun for expressive toddlers—even if the finished picture looks like the aftermath of a Where the Wild Things Are rumpus. Feeling smooth, cold paint between our fingers is among the great physical sensations that humans experience.
While finger painting is a therapeutic and tactile activity, controlled paintings can be produced with a little patience and technique. Zach, a 3 year-old finger painter and YouTube star, has mastered a pointillist approach to finger painting that is pretty amazing.
In this video, Zach creates a portrait of Leonardo the Ninja Turtle.
Zach is a gifted painter, but his work is a cute reminder that there is more to finger painting than meets the eye. Toddlers can take their own finger paintings further by incorporating some of these easy ideas:
•Folds: Only have kids paint on half the page. While the painting is still wet—fold it in half to create a symmetrical design. Kind of like a colorful Rorschach ink blot test!
•Stencils: Most flat things work as stencils—look for objects with interesting edges or holes. Place these found or purchased stencils onto paper and start painting around the edges, using the stencil to maintain white space on the page.
•Draw First: Sometimes when kids take a few minutes to draw a scene in pencil first, they are happier with their final painting. Drawing a picture before applying finger paint teaches kids to plan ahead. Make sure they draw big shapes so they can fill them in with paint!
•Accessorize: Once a picture is dry, toddlers can use stickers to make a scene! Adults can also help toddlers to glue pressed flowers, sequins, buttons or whatever kids think of onto the dry painting.