Toddler-Safe Fingerpainting

toddler safe fingerpainting

The day has finally arrived. I’ve been waiting for it forever. Our little boy has graduated from a squealy, rolly, giggling lump of clay into a toddling little man who is ready for every adventure (and bit of trouble) that he can find. This means it’s time to start doing big kid stuff … like arts and crafts!

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to expose James to fun, creative activities as soon as possible, and the chance finally presented itself. He’s become increasingly interested in textures and colors (he will stare at his Eric Carl picture books for endless moments, soaking in their vibrancy), so I figured we’d bust out the finger paints and have a little art session. And, by “bust out the finger paints,” I mean, “Find some way for James to finger paint without poisoning himself because you know for sure he’s going to eat whatever is on his fingers!”

james fingerpaint

He didn’t LOVE it, but he didn’t HATE it. And, with a toddler, that’s a win!

So, I did what every good parent does these days … I Googled it up! After some research on edible and non-toxic finger paints, I finally found a few options that seemed promising. Apparently, the best way to make edible finger paints is to make a really watered down playdough. 

Toddler-Safe Finger Paint
A safe, non-toxic way to let your little people enjoy creative expression!
Write a review
Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 2 cups cold water
  2. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  3. 2 tbsp. white sugar
  4. Food coloring
  1. Combine cold water, cornstarch, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower temperature to medium and whisk nonstop.
  3. Once the mixture has thickened to a semi-clear gel, remove from heat and divide into baby-safe containers.
  4. Immediately add desired color.
  5. Let cool, and use immediately.
  1. This recipe should let you make between 3-6 colors, depending on how much of each color you would like.
A Yankee in Rebel Clothes
 And I’m glad I took the time to find a safe option for his first art activity because, of course, the minute there was paint on his fingers, they went directly into his mouth. I can’t imagine it tasted too
good, but he didn’t seem to mind. With a little guidance and coaching, we were able to get more paint on the paper than in his belly. 

Is he a Picasso? It’s certainly too early to tell, but he did enjoy feeling the different texture and testing them out on his tongue and the paper. Until he stopped enjoying it and needed a good bath to scrub him clean. Babies … what do you expect?

A few tips for fingerpainting with your toddler:

  1. If possible, get your art on outside. Cleaning up huge messes with a hose is much easier that wiping down your walls and praying that they come clean. It was a little too hot out for us to take art time outdoors so …
  2. Use a large sheet (or, in our case, towel) to cover your art space if you’re working indoors. Something you don’t mind getting ruined. Because, believe me, if you think they couldn’t possibly get paint there, they will. 
  3. Let your toddler be creative as close to naked as possible while strapped into a high chair. This helps wiggly little people stay a bit more under control as well as making cleanup easier. 
  4. Have art day miraculously coincide with bath day! There’s nothing more fun than a midday bath that comes right after getting messy during art and right before lunch and naptime. 
  5. It’s okay if your toddler just wants to grab and squeeze (and eat) the paint. That’s great for sensory and fine-motor development. And using non-toxic paint options make you worry less about the little one getting sick. 

What fun and creative activities do you do with your little people? Share in the comments. I could always use new ideas!

One Comment

  1. Love it! Especially the blue coming out from the sides of his mouth! Your a good Mom!

Leave a Reply