Finger Painting For Babies – How it Helps in Baby’s Development

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Finger Painting For Babies

There are so many good reasons for a baby to smile and one of them is painting. This messy art experience is a fabulous activity for the baby. Though paintings are made for younger kids, even little ones can join in the fun painting time.  Not only can finger painting for babies be a fun activity, but also excellent for the development of small muscles of the baby’s arms, neck, hands and back.

Apart from being a wonderful color recognition practice, it is also a terrific tool for enhancing creative skills and fine motor skills as well. Finger painting activity helps to maintain hand-eye coordination in babies along with giving a boost to their thinking skills. Although messy, a good and healthy playtime boosts sensory development in babies. These lovely messy baby moments lay the foundation for the baby’s brain growth, which prepares them for successful learning.

In This Article

Is Finger Painting Good For Babies?

Finger painting is an excellent activity for babies. Apart from letting babies enjoy the messy experience of painting a surface with their fingers, finger painting also has many developmental benefits. Your baby can understand colors. They get introduced to a whole new world of sensory experiences such as touch, feel, color and form as they apply the color on surface with their fingers.

As they continue with finger painting, they will understand that they can make different shapes on the surface they are working with. Babies love messy play and finger play gives them an opportunity to explore this side while learning new skills.

When to Introduce Finger Painting to Your Baby?

You can introduce finger paint to your baby once they turn 6 months old and are able to sit with support. You can prop your baby in a highchair or against a support such as pillows. Place a surface such as paper or any other washable surface and let them paint away. Initially, you may need to show your baby how it is done. With time and practice, they will learn to move their fingers and paint on the surface.

[Read : When Do Babies Sit Up Without Support?]

Top 6 Developmental Benefits of Finger Painting For Babies

Developmental Benefits of Finger Painting For Babies

Here are some of the benefits that your baby can get from their finger painting activities.

1. Fine Motor Skills

As your baby dips fingers and tries to make various shapes on a surface, their fine motor skills get stronger. These fine motor skills will come in handy later in developing skills such as writing, holding etc.

2. Sensory Development

Babies develop their senses of touch, feel, vision, and learning as they work on their finger painting.

[Read : Baby’s Vision Development]

3. Hand-Eye Coordination

As your munchkin continues to paint with fingers, their hand-eye coordination improves which is very important as your baby grows.

4. Improved Body Strength

While painting the muscles of their fingers, shoulders, back, arms and neck are strengthened as they continuously move them. It also strengthens the baby’s ability to plan, visualize, execute, and implement.

5. Cognitive Development

Finger painting helps with the cognitive development of the baby, and they will slowly identify the name of the colors and shapes. Early learning will boost their confidence and lay the foundation for quick learning once they start schooling.

And, above all the benefits, the most important one is that it is ‘FUN’ for the baby.

Tips For Finger Painting With Babies

Letting your baby finger paint on their own may sound a little scary for a parent. You may be worried about factors such as safety, clean up, and how to do it. Here are some tips for you.

  • Easily washable paints are an added bonus. You can opt for homemade paints too. 
  • Always choose baby-safe paints from well-known brands as they can be safe for your baby. Look for non-toxic paints.
  • Remember that you should monitor your baby since they may put the paint in their mouth.
  • You can let your baby stay in a diaper or in an old pair of clothes. In fact, you can have a separate pair of clothes just for your baby’s painting activity.
  • Join in with your baby and have fun. This can be a chance to bond with your baby too.
  • While painting with your baby, you can talk about colors, shapes such as lines and circles and also let your baby repeat each color with you.

[Read : When Do Babies Start Seeing Colors?]

What Paint is Safe to Use on a Baby’s Hand?

Paint is Safe to Use on a Baby's Hand

When it comes to the health and safety of your newborn, you will always go with the things which do not harm the baby in any manner. So, the choice of paint, used for the baby, is done effectively. You will always want to use non-toxic chemical-free paint to put on the baby’s hand.

There are a variety of edible paints available like

1. Homemade Edible Paints

These can be easily prepared with common materials available at your home. These are made with cornstarch mixed up with a different food colors of your choice. They are very smooth in texture and the baby could easily run their fingers into them without any harm. Non-toxic edible home paint is ready for your artist baby in a shorter period.

2. Food-Based Paint

This is the safest paint for small babies as they can put their paint-covered hands in their mouth anytime. It is very easy in making and you don’t have to fret about the safety of the baby. These are prepared with a combination of fruit or vegetable puree.

Precautions to be Taken For Finger Painting For Babies

Precautions to be Taken For Finger Painting

Finger painting is an exploratory activity that involves physical as well as creating benefits for babies. But dealing with the mess makes you a good parent. By following simple steps, you can ensure a healthy painting time for the baby:

  • Choose safe and toxic free paints for your baby.
  • Be sure to monitor so that your baby doesn’t get any paint into their mouth or eyes.
  • Dress your child comfortably so that it may not create any trouble while painting.
  • Have a designated painting area where the baby can sit comfortably and doesn’t risk the chances of falling or getting hurt.
  • Be kind and gentle while defining the area to paint.
  • You can use an old table and stick paper on it to avoid any extra mess.
  • Get ready with wipes or wet cloth if your baby goes beyond the predefined limits.
  • Keep appreciating the baby while creating the masterpiece art on their own as it will provide a sense of confidence to your munchkin.
  • Never criticize or scold your baby as it will demoralize the faith in you.

Finger painting for babies is an excellent activity that promotes free play and many skills too. Finger painting is safe for the baby as long as the parent supervision is there and the type of paint you are choosing for your little one is safe. Always prefer non-toxic and handmade chemical-free paints, especially for babies.

In a nutshell, finger painting is a great learning tool for the baby and helps them to grow well. Babies have fun doing it at any age. Also, the parents should ensure that if their little one is allergic to any kind of material, the paints should be devoid of those ingredients.

[Read : Tips To Stop Babies From Putting Everything In Mouth]


1. Is Finger Painting a Fine Motor Skill?

Finger painting is the best practice of learning while doing as it involves the movement of hands and fingers together, strengthens them and enhances the gross as well as fine motor skills.

2. Is Finger Painting a Cognitive Development?

Finger painting is a nice way to express emotions for the baby. It involves the use of sensory actions and learning to explore their imagination.

Read Also: Spaghetti Play For Babies -How it Helps in Baby’s Development

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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