Painting activities for toddlers

What's Covered

There are so many amazing painting activities for your toddlers to enjoy. Painting is a fun way for toddlers to let out their creative and artistic side. If you are looking for different painting activities for your toddlers here’s a list of the best creative painting activities available to your toddlers that will certainly help them be more creative and imaginative and will keep them entertained for hours.

Benefits of painting for toddlers

Art comes in many forms that include scribbling, doodling, coloring, drawing, and painting. Toddlers need to have an outlet for their creative side. One of the best outlets for this would be painting. Painting is a good activity for toddlers to learn more about art and to gain a number of skills. Painting helps children learn more about creating images[1]. It helps them learn visual skills and gives them an outlet to create the images in their head.  This means that they can access the more creative part of their brain. It can also improves their motor skills such as muscle development and hand-eye coordination[2]. That’s why most schools teach toddlers painting in school to improve their motor skills through options such as finger painting, handprints, body tracing and watercolors.  Whenever a toddler shows their parents what they have painted and get praised for it, it can result in toddlers becoming more productive, more motivated and the need to succeed increases [3].  This means it can have numerous implications for the way they develop.  It will provide them with a chance to improve their skills, improve their imagination and the chance to be a more productive person in the future.

How to introduce painting to your toddlers

Has your toddler shown an interest in coloring? Do they enjoy using their hands? Do you feel they have a creative side? Why not introduce them to painting? Painting is a form of art that most toddlers enjoy. There is so many different types of painting available to toddlers. Firstly, if you are thinking of introducing or encouraging your toddlers who have no experience at all in painting why don’t you introduce them to the finger painting. Finger painting can be introduced to children as young as 6 months. It can help young children learn more about colors and how they work. For example, through finger painting they can see the mixing of colors meaning how when they mix two primary colors it can make a whole different color. This is much easier for toddlers to use and doesn’t require paint brushes. Let your toddlers learn all about art and painting by using just their fingers. Finger painting is a fun and messy expression of art that your toddler is bound to enjoy. Make sure you provide a surface that is easy to clean or to use washable paint.

If you see that your child is enjoying finger painting and wants to do it more than once or on a regular basis you can get them a finger-painting sketch pad to entertain them with. This will give them a place to paint every time rather than looking for single papers and it will keep all their artwork safe in one place.

If you think your toddler can handle more than just finger painting and would like to start painting why not get them a full painting set.  The paining set can encourage your toddler to enjoy painting. A full set comes with paint, paint brushes, canvases, a tabletop easel, an art smock and a palette. This is a complete set that will prepare your child for any painting activity you throw at them. If you are looking for a set like this look no further than Amazon.

If you are looking for a more simple and perfect art set for toddlers who are likely to make a mess and would like to encourage them to be creative there are some that are perfect for beginners.

Painting activities for all toddlers

1.      Sand Painting activity

Here is a fun and easy way to introduce your children to painting by using sand. Provide them with the sand paint and give them a blank canvas to let them draw whatever they feel like drawing. It’s a perfect way to let toddlers learn how to pain without any restrictions and drawings to follow. Just be careful with the sand and make sure your child doesn’t try to taste or eat the paint. This activity will need the parents’ supervision.

2.      Painting Animal Figurines

Children love animals whether it’s the domestic animals such as pets which includes a dog, cat, rabbit, parrot, snake, or the different types of birds. They are also starting to learn about other types of animals like the wild animals which include animals such as lions, elephants, tigers, giraffes, zebras, and hippos. They are also learning about extinct animals like dinosaurs such as T-Rex, pterodactyl, velociraptor, and Stegosaurus.   Most children enjoy having pets at home. Why not provide your toddlers with a chance to paint their favorite animals. This will provide them with the chance to learn about different animals their names, appearance, correct colors and to learn by touch as well as sight. They can paint both the real and the mythical creatures there are so many choices available to them. The figurines may be fragile in nature so ensure your toddler is able to handle them properly or else provide parental supervision to ensure nothing gets broken.

3.      Painting Ocean Creatures

Young children are amazed by the ocean and the creatures that can be found underneath. There are so many cartoons these days about the ocean such as the Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, and Shark Tale that kids love and have learnt about the ocean from. Look no further than the most watched video on YouTube Baby Shark that all young children adore. Why not provide them with a painting activity that they would love about the creatures in the ocean.

4.      Car activity

Cars are a big part of the male populations life, from a young age till they are old most men love everything about cars. They love playing with toy cars, driving cars from the little ones all the way to real vehicles.  If you would like to gain and keep a young boy toddlers attention it is almost assured that there’s nothing boys love more than cars so why not give your toddler boy a chance to paint their own car in any design they want. This is a great opportunity to get your boys to love painting, to improve their motor skills, and to show you what they like. This can all be done just through one activity.

5.      Painting wooden planes

Here’s another activity that is perfect for boys. Boys love all things transport that includes planes. Boys like playing with toys such as planes and why not give them a chance to decorate and paint their own toy. This will provide them with an activity and a toy to keep as well. It will also help them know more about the different types of planes and other modes of transport, colors and how to paint wood.

6.      Rock Painting

Here’s another painting activity that is easy to carry out and young kids can manage to do on their own. It can be done with rocks found in their own backyard or it can be found in an art set. Rocks are small enough for young kids to hold and it can help improve their painting skills in small spaces. A fun way to learn more about painting and a versatile way to paint on a little canvas.

7.      Painting Eggs

Here’s another painting activity that young kids would love. Especially those who love Easter, easter eggs and the easter bunny. Painting and decorating eggs is an activity that is mostly done during Easter, where kids take part in painting and hiding the eggs as a scavenger or treasure hunt game. However, painting eggs for toddlers might be a bit too risky as they are too young. There are many new products focusing on Easter egg decorating but on fake or soft eggs.

8.      Painting Wooden Magnets

Here’s a painting activity that involves making or decorating your own magnets. This could also be an educational activity for young kids to learn more about magnets, how they work and the different uses of magnets. It takes putting children’s artwork on the fridge to a whole new level by actually making fridge magnets instead. Toddlers will have fun painting their own wooden magnets and keeping it on the fridge for all to see and admire.

9.      Painting bird house

If you would like to provide your toddler with a hands-on activity that involves more than painting, you could try assembling and painting a bird house. This activity will provide your toddlers with an opportunity to use their hands to build something and then decorate it anyway they want. It can also be an educational activity where you teach your toddlers about the different kinds of birds, where they live and how to feed them.  

10.  Princess activity

Every young girl loves princesses, the dresses, the castles, the crown/tiara. Girls love princesses whether its Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel, Snow white, Anna, Elsa, or Jasmine. These Disney princesses are cartoons that most girls love. Why not get your little girl a painting activity about princesses? They will be happy and spend a lot of time and energy making the princesses look perfect to them.

11.  Paint a Unicorn

Unicorns are a big hit nowadays for young girls everywhere. Whether it’s a stuffed animal, a way to decorate your kids’ room, or on clothes. Little girls everywhere love unicorns. Whether it’s the bright rainbow colors, the uniqueness and mystical fantasy surrounding unicorns they are booming right now. Finding painting activities for young girls involving unicorns is bound to be a success.

12.  Paint fruit and vegetables

If you are looking for an enjoyable as well as an educational activity for your young toddlers. Why not let your kids paint and learn about fruits and vegetables? They can learn more about why we eat fruits and vegetables, their benefits,  the names of fruits and vegetables, their shapes, and their colors all while participating in one painting activity. This activity will help young kids learn the right colors for each fruit and vegetable.

13.  Paint a Tea set

Another activity that young girls would really enjoy is the chance to host tea parties. Tea parties are a big game in young girls lives. They love to play tea parties with their stuffed animals, their parents, their siblings and their friends. Here is an opportunity to take tea parties to a whole new level. What is better than playing tea parties than designing and decorating your own tea set?  It is sure to be a success to young girls everywhere.

14.  Paint suncatchers

Here is another creative activity that will provide you and your kids with their own designed suncatcher. A suncatcher is small and reflective that you can put on the window to catch sunlight. It is usually made out of glass. This could be a science lesson about light and mirrors as well as an exciting activity. Let your toddlers paint their own suncatchers and hang it up on the wall.

15.  Paint animal pictures

Here’s a simple activity that doesn’t involve much but will keep your young ones happy and teach them something at the same time. Find images or pictures of animals that are just outlines with no color. This can be found either on the internet or in books or on Amazon. Provide the images on pieces of paper and give them to your toddlers to paint. This will teach them about animals and at the same time provide your toddlers with an easy to do activity that doesn’t involve your participation and a painting to hang on their bedroom wall, on the fridge, or even in their playroom.

Final Thoughts

With all these painting activities you are sure to keep your toddlers entertained and excited about painting. Here are the best three painting activities that will make young kids very happy. Personally, I would recommend , and as they are the most fun and available to both boys and girls.


[1] Eisner, Elliot W. “The Contribution of Painting to Children’s Cognitive Development.” Journal of Curriculum Studies (2006): 109-116.

[2]Arslan, Asuman Aypek. “A study into the effects of art education on children at the socialisation process.” Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences (2013): 4114-4118.

[3]Arslan, Asuman Aypek. “A study into the effects of art education on children at the socialisation process.” Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences (2013): 4114-4118.

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Author

Vivian Perry

Vivian Perry

Mother of 3 kids. Enjoy reading parenting books and studied child care degree. Vivian loves to learn and write about parenting tips and help her kids to grow positively with grit mindset.

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