This post is sponsored by Language Launchers. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure.
Painting with infants does not have to be scary and it is a great way to explore with your baby at home. Many moms are always searching for activities to do with their infants. I decided to expand my list of tips for painting with infants to include in The Ultimate Guide to Baby’s First Year, because it really is a fun way to play with baby and make a great keepsake or gift!
Painting with infants may sound messy, unpredictable and difficult, but it is not. My two oldest children painted for the first time when they were about 6 or 7 months old. The twins painted their first picture around 9 months. Painting with infants is a fun way to add in a simple infant activity into your baby’s day-and help you feel like a productive mom at home.
Here are my 9 tips for painting with infants so you can try them too!
Tips for Painting with Infants
Prep your supplies:
pieces of construction paper (I gather about 6 pieces)
newspaper or large sheets of butcher paper or packing paper
high chair and tray or other solid work surface
dampened paper towels, washable towel or baby wipes
1) Undress baby leaving on their diaper.
2) Place baby in a secure seat like a high chair. I like this high chair because it is all washable, and in 6 years of having children, paint (or food) has never stained it. Plus it fits anywhere!
3) I like having baby paint using the high chair tray, because on our chair the tray is plastic. If you have a wooden tray just wrap it with plastic wrap if you are worried about paint sticking to it or staining. If you have to push the high chair up to a table, you can tape down some newspaper or butcher paper with masking tape to protect the surface.
4) Use masking tape to secure the construction paper (painting canvas) to the tray or solid surface. Babies do not have the coordination to hold the paper and keep it from moving around while finger painting, so taping it down is essential.
5) Squeeze a teaspoon to a tablespoon of paint onto the paper. Babies do not always understand the idea of dipping their fingers into a container of paint and then transferring the paint to the paper. If the paint is in a container, playing with it may become a sensory activity on its own!
NOW IT IS TIME FOR THE FUN STUFF!
6) Let your child try to mark the paper with the paint.
You can help guide by saying things like, “You are painting! Paint a picture on the paper.” “Use your fingers and hand to spread the paint.” “Keep the paint on the paper and not your mouth.”
Simple interactions during activities are very important for building an infant’s language development. Your child may not yet be able to answer back, but they are learning how to have a conversation, new words, and that they are important to you! Talk them through it and guide them to use the paint as you see fit.
We sometimes think that since babies can not talk to us, that they do not benefit from hearing us speak to them. That is false. Enriching play with language is essential!
7) If your infant is not moving their hands to paint on the paper, you can gently hold their forearm and gently move their hand around in the paint. Use words to talk about how the paint feels (slimy, slippery, smooth) or what it looks like (color words).
8) Use baby’s interest to determine when the activity needs to end. My oldest two painted about five papers each and then they showed signs of being tired.
Some infants may be unhappy with their hands covered in wet paint, so getting one painting finished may be good. If your child gets upset, stop the activity and try again in a few days or more.
9) You can let the paintings dry by simply using a piece of masking tape to secure the painting to a window until dry. (Any stray paint that gets on the glass will clean right off.) Then hang the painting up on the refrigerator, or attach a label to mark the milestone.
For their first Christmas, I added a label and framed a few of my children’s first paintings as gifts for the grandparents. The label listed their full name, the date, their age, a series number (just for fun) like 1/6, 2/6, etc.
I also included a small photo of the painting experience in a plastic magnetic frame. Then long distance family can see the fun experience too. Painting is a great way for baby to play and learn. It is an outlet for children’s creative energy and allows for a lot of language exposure and interaction.
Have you tried painting with your infant? How did it go?
Hi there! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. My name is Jaimi, and I am a mom who love to encourage other mothers in the season of raising children, making a home, and staying focused on the end goals of motherhood.