Mess Free Play Hacks for Painting with Toddlers

If you've a toddler, chances are you have dabbled in finger painting. And chances are you're not in a hurry to repeat finger painting at home because of the mess it creates.

Here’re 3 play hacks I use for mess and anxiety-free painting with Gwen (15 months).

Mess Free Play Hacks for Painting with Toddlers!

Mess Free Play Hacks for Painting with Toddlers

1. Paint with water

Using water instead of paint for beginners is a good way to acquaint little ones with holding the paintbrush and practising the hand motion to move the paintbrush across paper. Water dries up easily and doesn’t leave stains on furniture, your toddler and you!

Couple this with point number 2 below!

2. Paint on coloured paper

Instead of painting with colours, achieve a similar effect by painting on coloured paper. I got the idea from my mum friend Carmen. If you're reading this Carmen, thank you for the inspiration!

Water creates a darker shade of colour on coloured paper which makes it interesting for little ones to trial and error brush strokes and painting techniques on paper.

Water on coloured paper dries up pretty well and you can re-use the paper a few more times before the discoloration gets really obvious. For a more lasting solution, making a doodle board out of a special calligraphy cloth. Read more here.

3. DIY your own brush dipping container

Toddlers are still honing their fine motor skills and don’t have the ability to gracefully dip their brushes in an open-mouthed container without spilling the contents all over.

Short of buying a special container, a brainwave hit me when I was clearing out Gwen’s old milk bottles one day.

I used a pair of scissors to enlarge the hole in the teat of an old milk bottle, big enough to fit 2 brushes through.

Mess Free Play Hacks for Painting with Toddlers

Gwen loves posting her paintbrushes through this opening on the bottle test and can now wet her own brushes without too many accidents. Even if she knocks over the bottle, there’s plenty of time for me to set it upright before all the water drains out!

Mess Free Play Hacks for Painting with Toddlers

I’m keen to learn all the tricks and play hacks you have about painting with your toddler! Swap ideas with me on my exclusive Facebook group or chat with me on Instagram!

Mess Free Play Hacks for Painting with Toddlers

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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.

Hi! Thank you for taking time to read my blog. I am a stay-home Singaporean mama living in Seattle who is passionate about child-led and open-ended play for children in a conducive home environment.

Discovering Montessori and Reggio has been a life-changer for me. It made me an empathetic and mindful parent who follows my child’s needs and interests in the activities I plan at home. I hope the Montessori-friendly and Reggio inspired baby and toddler activities I share here inspire you too.

Happy reading!