We LOVE to paint in our house. Well, to be honest, my kids love to do anything that involves getting messy. I have to admit though, we do not paint as much as my kids would probably love to. We aren’t huge fans of mess and, I don’t know how the kids manage to, but the paint goes everywhere. Hence my kids probably only get to paint once or twice a week, right before bath time to make tidying up so much easier.

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But, there are so many positives for setting up different painting activities for your kids. Painting helps them to learn all about:

  • colour
  • textures
  • shapes
  • different methods of painting
  • gripping through holding a brush or roller

and all these positives don’t even begin to mention the amount of creativity and self-expression kids can produce on just one piece of paper.

If however, you aren’t a big fan of paint, there are alternatives you can do with your children. My kids love these watercolour books.* The books are full of different themed pictures and all that is required from you is to add water. Both my 1 year old and 3 year old enjoy using a paintbrush to brush on water and watch as the white picture comes to life with splashes of colour.

*not an affiliate link., just really love these books.

Mae independently water painting.

For those mums and dads who do feel up for a messy afternoon, check out these (5) painting activities you can do with your kids:

1) Finger and handprint flowers

I loved this activity with Georgi and Mae. It was actually so much fun and they thoroughly enjoyed that they were allowed to cover their whole hands in layers and layers of paint.


Prior to the activity, I spent all of 2 minutes drawing with a felt tip, some stems and leaves as a base for their flowers.


When it came to their painting activity, Mae was pretty much left to her own devices, able to paint her own hand and knew to dip her finger into the paint pots. Once directed once that the fingerprints were for the flower petals, she knew what to do and could do this independently. Georgi, on the other hand, needed more assistance with painting his own hands and help to place the prints down on the paper.


All in all, the activity came out great and I am left with even more beautiful pictures I don’t want to throw away! (who else’s house is overrun with things the kids have created and cannot bring themselves to get rid of them?)

This activity was inspired by this super craft blog, Glued to my Crafts Blog. Check it out as Stacey has an awesome free printable if you don’t fancy drawing your own dandelion.

2)Painting with Nature

This does initially involve going for a walk in your local park or woods, so grab your wellies and coats and enjoy that beautiful fresh air – not to mention your kids being able to run around freely helps tire them out for their afternoon nap!


On your walk, collect as many different natural objects as you can find – from different shaped leaves to nuts and seeds and even flowers and sticks.


Items collected on our nature walk.

Once home, set out your painting table and have your kids dip each item into the paint and make marks on their paper.


When you have finished mark making, paint over all objects. After they have dried, hide them in your garden or around your house (weather dependent) and create a scavenger hunt for the kids.


Nature items painted for our Scavenger Hunt.

3) Painting Butterflies

I was so engrossed in this activity and spending ‘in the moment’ time with Mae as Georgi takes up a lot of attention, that I didn’t take any pictures during this activity.


However, it is a great one believe me. To save on mess (ish!), we bought the kids these paint pens which you squeeze slightly for the paint to come out, but they also have a brush already attached, making painting a lot easier.


Mae loves using these and we were creating different patterns, splatting the paint all across the paper. Mae asked if I could draw her a butterfly, so I decided to teach her how to make a symmetrical butterfly with folding the paper – she loved it and managed to create a beautiful butterfly herself! I was a very proud mum.


Simply fold your paper in half and open out again. Paint half of your butterfly on one of your paper. Then fold the paper over and squish it down flat so that the paint starts to come through onto the other side. Once you open it out again, you will have your symmetrical butterfly.


Mae’s Painted Butterfly

4) Painting with Animals

Similar to the mark making activity with nature, this activity involves using plastic animal toys. We personally had available a plastic cow, sheep, pig and horse. My kids love anything and everything to do with animals, so this activity is very popular.


Simply have the paint available for your children to either dip the animal’s feet into or, use a paintbrush to paint the animal’s feet. Then one animal at a time, press them down onto the paper as if it is walking across the page.


During this activity, we encouraged learning about:

  • what each animal was called
  • the sound they make
  • what colour footprints did they have
  • which footprints were the biggest/smallest
  • and of course, the obligatory song of ‘Old McDonald’.

5) Finger Paint Animals

This activity, though a lot of fun, does require a bit more adult input with drawing animals, there are ways to still make this more child led.


Mae was able to select what colours she wanted to use and what animal she wanted to paint, however, did need support with placing her fingers in the correct position in order to outline each animals shape.


Once the paint has dried, you are then able to go over the top of each finger/hand print. With a pen, draw on relevant outlines or facial features to match the animal your child has said they have painted.


There you have it, 5 really Easy Painting Activities you can do with your kids.

If you don’t have time to do these activities right now, why not pin this post for later.

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