Baby and Me Craft - Fingerpainting

Ready for a fun and messy activity for your baby? Let them try playing with paint to make their first masterpiece! 

Exposure to different textures is incredibly beneficial to a baby's developing mind. Check out our collection of textured picture books, my personal favorites being the "Never Touch A" series. We also have a wide collection on the subject of baby development in case you want to research up on more ideas, with exercise and activity ideas for babies!

Now, on to the messy part!

Tools and Materials:

  • Non-toxic washable paint (or if you like, you can make edible paint!)
  • A canvas or piece of cardboard/cardstock to paint on
  • drop cloth or large trash bag
  • A Camera (to catch the artist at work!)
  • optional: painter's tape
  • optional: baking soda or granulated sugar


Set down the plastic drop cloth or cut open the large trash bag to make a drop cloth.

Put your baby in a disposable diaper for easier clean up.

Optionally, you can add baking powder or sugar granules to the paints to give them different textures for the baby to feel. Keep an eye out for fingers to mouth though!

You can also use the painter's tape to "mask off" parts of the canvas. If you're using cardboard, be sure to not press too hard or you may rip the cardboard when pulling the tape up.. You can make a design or spell out a word in tape to be revealed later after the "artist" is finished.

Canvas marked off with masking tape for the word Ben

Step One: Set the canvas into the center of the plastic drop cloth. pour out your paint into small puddles on the canvas.

Multiple small puddles work, but I also found larger puddles made the colors more distinct and less mixing.

Picture of canvas with puddles of paint

Step Two: Place baby onto or near the canvas.

Step Three: Demonstrate how to spread the paint with your fingers, or help your baby drag their fingers through the paint until they get the idea.

picture of fingers smearing paint

Step Four: Step back and watch, with a camera ready. The textile feel of the paint and bright colors are both beneficial to the baby's developing mind! Let them explore and experiment with the new feelings. (If using non-edible paint, be ready to dive in and stop the fingers on their way to the mouth!)

picture of fingerpainted canvas

Step Five: Once the baby has lost interest (or is attempting to make a bigger mess than you want to handle), immediately remove them from the canvas and give them a bath.

Step Six: Allow the paint to dry. If you masked off the canvas with the painter's tape, remove it once dry to reveal your words or design. Now you can frame or hang the artwork, along with some of the pictures of the artist at work. Be sure to date the artwork as well!

picture of peeling painter's tape under paint

Step Seven: Several years from now, embarrass your child with the photos.

picture of canvas with fingerpainting and Ben masked off in center

Alternatively, if you want to keep your baby clean:

Put paint in bigger puddles on the canvas, and carefully slip the entire thing inside a clear garbage bag.

Picture of canvas with puddles of paint

Help your baby smear the paint through the bag.

picture of canvas inside plastic bag with paint on it

You'll probably need another adult's help removing the canvas from the bag to avoid smearing the paint.

picture of fingerpainted canvas

This method keeps the baby clean, and gives a really cool texture to the paint on the canvas!

Have fun getting messy!

Posted by DanieE on August 24, 2020