Fingerpainting allows toddlers to
- experiment with textures
- express their own creativity emotional
- experience sensory details, particularly visual and tactile
- learn about colors before and after mixing
- doodle shapes in the paint
- make prints with hands, feet, elbows, ... appropriate body parts
To make the experience more enjoyable - and less messy - for you, try these suggestions:
Paint outside; you don't even need a table. Just spread newspaper on the sidewalk, pour some paint on a paper plate, and you're ready to go!
Use the highchair. It's a great alternative and keeps the kiddo contained.
Cover up or paint in the buff. There's nothing fun about adding to your laundry piles, so throw on a smock (I hear Ikea has them really cheap.) or one of daddy's t-shirts (My husband still has shirts from college; they are expendable as far as I am concerned!). Warm weather painting can be done in just a diaper - I am referring to your toddler here, not you :)
And remember, fingerpaint is washable, so don't get too bent out of shape about the (potential) mess. Have fun!
Oh, apparently you can Make-Your-Own Finger Paint (imagine that!)... with all the cornstarch you have left over from making Moon Sand :)
Finger Paint Recipe
4 cups cold water
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon tempera paint or food coloring
Mix water and cornstarch; cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add paint or food coloring, or divide the mixture into three parts and add three different colors.