Craft Projects

12 Toddler Painting Ideas to Get Them into Art

Painting and coloring are the common ways to introduce one to art. For toddlers, they may be given crayons and a coloring book or they may be given some paint and a brush and left to have at it on a piece of paper.

But what are other painting ideas for toddlers that aren’t just a mess of paint on paper?

Below are 12 different toddler painting ideas to help pass the time or to use as a bonding activity.

The painting ideas in this list are categorized by different painting tools and different painting styles, and also includes bonus ideas!

Painting Ideas for Toddlers Using Different Tools

Before looking for a paint brush, here are six tools (including their hands and feet) toddlers can use instead!

1. Hand/ Footprint Painting Ideas For Toddlers

Handprint Flamingo

These handprint painting crafts from Crafts for Kids provide ideas on what animals your toddler can make with their handprints, like this cute pink flamingo.

Footprint Penguin

Here’s a really simple and cute footprint penguin painting from Mr Otter Art Studio.

Footprint Insects

Peppy Prisha shows us various other options for footprint animal art, such as ladybugs and bees.

Materials:

  • Hands/feet
  • Colored craft paint
  • Brush (optional)
  • Paper or canvas

How to Make:

Just paint your toddler’s hand or foot, press it down on a piece of paper or a canvas, and let them add details with a brush or their fingers.

2. Q-tip Painting For Toddlers

Q-tip Painting Activity

Q-tip Painting Activity

Photo credit: Buggy and Buddy

Buggy and Buddy uses Q-tips and watercolor for an easy painting activity for toddlers.

Q-tip Rainbow Painting

Q-tip Rainbow Painting

Photo credit: Make and Takes

Here’s a rainbow painting made using Q-tips from Make and Takes.

Materials:

  • Q-tips
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paper or canvas

How to Make:

Instead of a paint brush, toddlers can also use Q-tips as a substitute! Since Q-tips usually come in large packs, you can use one Q-tip for each color.

You can also tape them together to have your toddler make a beautiful rainbow as seen by Make and Takes tutorial above!

Be sure to supervise your toddler when they paint using Q-tips as they might insert them in their nose, ears, or mouth.

3. Bubble Wrap Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Bubble Wrap Painting Activity

Jumpin Honey shows various ways to keep your kids busy with bubble wrap, rubber bands, and empty toilet paper rolls.

Bubble Wrap Shape Stamps

Bubble Wrap Shape Stamps

Photo credit: Learning 4 Kids

Learning 4 Kids has an educational activity that involves cutting the bubble wrap into shapes so toddlers can learn about them while painting!

Bubble Wrap Sea Turtle Painting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZL3x9KJwYY

Carolyn Warvel shows us how to utilize the pattern from the bubble wrap to make scales for a sea turtle painting.

Materials:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Colored craft paint
  • Scissors (to cut shapes)
  • Paper or canvas

How to Make:

Using bubble wrap for painting is pretty interesting as it leaves a distinct pattern and can be used for various painting ideas, so be sure to save that bubble wrap from packages!

Just cut the bubble wrap, dip it in paint, and stamp away.

4. Sponge Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Sponge-Paint Caterpillar Painting

Neil and Noel’s Fun Zone uses a sponge to make a cute caterpillar painting.

Sponge-Paint Shape Stamps

Sponge-Paint Shape Stamps

Photo credit: First Palette

First Palette cuts the sponges into different shapes to create fun and interesting paintings.

Materials:

  • Sponge/s (depending if you want various shapes)
  • Scissors
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paper or canvas

How to make:

Another tool your toddler can use to paint is a sponge. Just dip the sponge in paint and press it onto the paper or canvas. This can also double as a way to teach toddlers about shapes while painting!

5. Toilet Paper Roll Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Toilet Paper Roll Fireworks Painting

Mummy Maker shows us how toddlers can make an easy fireworks painting using an empty toilet paper roll.

Toilet Paper Roll Dandelion Painting

Toilet Paper Roll Hedgehog Painting

Aside from fireworks, toddlers can also make dandelion and hedgehog paintings with empty toilet paper rolls.

Materials:

  • Empty toilet paper roll
  • Colored craft paint
  • Scissors
  • Paper or canvas

How to Make:

Take your empty toilet paper roll and cut slits around one end. You can cut as long or as wide as you want as shown by My Kid Craft.

Photo credit: My Kid Craft

Afterwards, just dip the end with the slits in paint and stamp it on paper!

6. Fork Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Fork Flowers Painting

Fork Flowers Painting

Photo credit: Super Simple

Here’s a simple and easy-to-do fork flower painting from Super Simple.

Fork Sun Rays Painting

Fork Sun Rays Painting

Photo credit: Active Littles

Toddlers can also paint the rays of the sun using a fork as shown by Active Littles.

Materials:

  • Fork (plastic or metal)
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paper or canvas

How to Make:

Forks produce a unique shape when used for painting.

Dipping forks in paint and stamping them onto a piece of paper can help toddlers easily create images that would be difficult for them, like flowers and sun rays.

Painting Ideas for Toddlers Using Different Styles

These four painting ideas show toddlers how to paint using different methods and styles!

7. Drip Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Drip Painting Flower Stems

Easy Peasy and Fun shows how to create stems with paint drips while using glue and cupcake liners to create petals.

Drip Painting Rain Clouds

Drip Painting Rain Clouds

Photo credit: A Little Pinch of Perfect

Another toddler painting idea is this rain cloud painting from A Little Pinch of Perfect that uses glue and cotton balls to make the clouds.

Materials:

  • Eyedroppers
  • Watercolor
  • Tray or something to catch the paint with as it drips
  • Paper or canvas
  • Water

How to Make:

Mix water with the watercolor of your choice. After that, fill an eyedropper with the color and have it drip onto the paper/canvas. Tilt the paper/canvas slightly and let gravity do the work!

Make sure you have a tray below the paper/canvas to avoid dripping paint everywhere!

8. Symmetry Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Symmetry Heart Painting

Symmetry Heart Painting

Photo credit: The Artful Parent

The Artful Parent demonstrates how to cut out a heart shape from a piece of paper to use for this symmetry painting.

String Symmetry Painting

String Symmetry Painting

Photo credit: Preschool Powol Packets

Preschool Powol Packets uses string to produce this neat pattern for symmetry painting.

Materials:

  • Paper
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paint brush (optional)
  • Yarn or string

How to Make:

To create a symmetry painting, paint one side of a piece of paper, fold it over the other side, and press both sides together. Unfolding it reveals a symmetrical pattern!

Another method to make beautiful symmetry art is with the use of string as shown by Preschool Powol Packets.

They dip each piece of string in paint, place them on one side of the paper, fold the other side over, and press the sides together while gently removing each string.

9. Splatter Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Autumn -Themed Splatter Painting

Yuziana uses a toothbrush and some leaves to create this autumn inspired splatter art.

Mickey Mouse Splatter Painting

Neil and Noel’s Fun Zone uses a cutout silhouette of Mickey Mouse to create a fun pattern within the splatter.

Materials:

  • Paint brush
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paper or canvas

How to Make:

Take a brush, dip it in some paint, use your fingers to pull back the bristles of the brush, then release and splat!

As shown in the two examples above, toddlers can paint in the space left by the cutout or it can be left as a white or negative space.

Speaking of negative space…

10. Other Negative Space Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Negative space (or “white space”) is the blank space within the main design element. In this case, that element is paint.

Handprint Negative Space Painting

Handprint Negative Space Painting

Photo credit: Fun A Day

Fun A Day shows toddlers how to use their hand to trace a cutout.

Negative Space Name Painting

Negative Space Name Painting

Photo credit: Maia Lorick

Here’s a negative space name painting by Maia Lorick.

Materials:

  • Paper (at least two pieces) or canvas
  • Colored craft paint
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Paint brush (or any other painting tool you want to use)
  • Poster putty
  • Painter’s tape

How to Make:

First, trace the desired shape on a piece of paper with a marker and cut that piece out. Stick the cutout on another piece of paper with poster putty and paint over it. Finally, remove the traced object.

Another toddler painting idea is to use painter’s tape to spell out your toddler’s name on a canvas and let them paint over it.

Bonus Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Here are two more fun toddler painting ideas that go beyond the traditional paper canvas.

11. Mess-Free Finger Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Mess-Free Ziploc Bag Painting

Here’s a mess free painting idea from Days of May using Ziploc bags.

Mess Free Plastic Wrap Painting

OiOiOi With Jessi, on the other hand, uses plastic wrap to allow younger children and babies to finger paint.

Materials:

  • Plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paper (the sturdier the better) or canvas

How to Make:

This mess free finger painting method for toddlers from Days of May shows us how to add paint on a piece of paper, put that paper inside a Ziploc bag, and tape it to the floor or a table to ensure a mess free painting activity for your toddler or baby.

You can also use plastic wrap to wrap over a canvas to avoid a mess while your toddler paints (as shown by OiOiOi With Jessi).

These are mess free ways to teach your toddlers about color mixing or simply leave them to have at it without leaving a mess!

12. Painting Objects

Pinecone Painting

Pinecone Painting

Photo credit: Fireflies + Mudpies

One object toddlers can have a lot of fun painting is a pinecone as shown by Fireflies + Mudpies.

Pot Painting

Pot Painting

Photo credit: Dilly-Dali Art

Pot Painting

Photo credit: Dilly-Dali Art

If you have pots at home, Dilly-Dali Art shows us how toddlers can paint mesmerizing patterns on them.

Materials:

  • The object you want painted
  • Colored craft paint
  • Paint brush (optional)

How to Make:

Don’t just settle with letting your toddlers paint on pieces of paper or on a canvas! Pinecones and pots are just some of the other objects they can have a lot of fun painting.

They can paint with a brush or use the various other tools and styles found on this list.

Keep a Toddler’s Life Colorful!

These are just 12 toddler painting ideas to introduce them to the world of art and to teach color mixing and shapes!

The best part? Almost all of the materials needed can be found at home, your local craft store, or local grocery store. You can also use other materials other than what’s mentioned.

Keep your toddler’s life creative and colorful – start painting now!

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