5 fun painting ideas

Image and words: Sara Conway

These easy ideas turn your toddler’s energetic splatting into works of art. If letting your toddler grab a paintbrush fills you with fear, don’t worry! Here are our top tips…

  1. Keep them contained! A highchair is great as you can cover the floor in newspaper, cover them in an apron, and keep your sofas far away from harm.
  2. Use washable paints. We love Crayola washable paints as they really are washable and they come in lots of bright colours.
  3. Keep wet wipes in reach. Need we say more?
  4. Be organised. Get everything ready (including your cup of tea) before you open the paints so you don’t have to turn your back on your toddler.
  5. Enjoy it! Let them choose colours, splat and swirl, and as soon as there’s a sign they’re getting bored whisk them away. Bored toddler = flying paint.


1 Handy art: turn their handprints into a waving bunch of flowers.

You’ll need: paper, paint, scissors, green straws.

  1. Help your toddler paint their hand and press it onto the paper. They might be able to do this themselves.
  2. Once you’ve got a few handprints, let them dry. Then snip them out and tape them to straws.

That’s it! A great way to say thanks a bunch.

2 DIY stencils: transform random splats into an object they can recognise.

You’ll need: paper, card, scissors, tape, paint

  1. Cut a shape from card. Tape either the shape or its outline to the paper (one will create a colourful shape, the other will create a white shape in the middle of their painting).
  2. Now let your tot loose with paints and a paintbrush.
  3. Once the paint is dry, lift off the stencil so they can see what they created.

3 Printing patterns: let your child dip and print with different objects.

Chunky building blocks are easy to hold and create pleasing dots. A fork is fun and creates grooves in the paint. Also try a washing up sponge, an old toothbrush or their fingers.

4 Mirror painting

Fold a piece of paper in half so they can paint on one side of it.  Fold the two sides together and get them to help your press so you to transfer the paint from one side to the other. A magical mirror image will appear in front of their eyes!

5 Water painting

Give them a bowl of water and clean brushes so they can paint the floor outdoors!