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3 Easy Tips for Painting with Toddlers

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3 simple tips for fun and mess-free painting with toddlers. How to prepare, what supplies to use, and how to use household items if you don’t have a ton of toddler crafting supplies.

We recently went to do some painting with my toddlers and came to realize that most of our painting gear was packed away from our recent move. We had paint and paintbrushes, but not much gear to protect our table or toddlers from paint.

I’m sharing 3 easy and simple tips for doing crafts or painting with toddlers using household items and supplies you might already have laying around your house.

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Tip #1: Make A Smock Out of A Grocery Bag

If you are painting or doing messy crafts with your toddler, you will want to have them wear a smock to protect their clothes and skin. But don’t worry if you don’t have a smock; use a grocery bag instead and make a grocery bag smock!

How To Make A Grocery Bag Smock

  1. Grab a grocery bag and some scissors (the thicker and better quality the bag, the better).
  2. Cut a wholes for your toddler’s head and arms
  3. Stick it on your toddler by going over their head like a shirt. Have them wear this over their clothes (make sure to roll their sleeves up) to keep their clothes clean or strip them down and have them wear the make-shift smock to their skin clean.

It may be tempting to just have your toddler go naked for crafting, but with a smock (or grocery bag smock) they won’t necessarily need a bath afterwards. Also, always supervise your toddler when wearing a grocery bag smock since grocery bags can be a suffocation hazard.

Toddler Smock – If you have time to prepare, the Bumpkins Toddler Art Smock is our favorite! It’s waterproof, but still able to be washed in the washing machine and comes in such cuter patters.

Tip #2: Protect Your Table With Press & Seal Wrap

Want to do crafts with toddlers at your kitchen table, but don’t have a table cloth handy? In a pinch you can protect your table by covering it with Glad Press & Seal Wrap.

If you don’t have press & seal wrap (which my my personal favorite), cling wrap or even foil would do the trick. It takes just a few long sheets to cover the corner or side of the table where your toddler is sitting. No need to cover your entire table unless you have a full table of kids doing crafts.

My favorite part about using press & seal wrap is that its super easy clean up! After they are done painting or crafting, simply pull it all up and throw it away.

Toddler Art Mat – if you do have time to prepare, the EZPZ Play Mat is our favorite for crafting! We love EZPZ mats because they stick to the table so food or crafts don’t end up on your floor.

Tip #3: Use Paper Plates & Washable Paint

Finally, my third tip doing fun and easy crafts with toddlers is to use a paper plate to hold paint and other craft supplies and always use washable paint.

A paper plate makes for easy clean up and no special supplies are required! If you don’t have a paper plate, a thick piece of cardboard would work well too.

Never use normal acrylic paint with your toddler or young kids or you will be cleaning up paint for years to come. Plus toddlers are bound to try to eat the paint or stick their hands in their mouths after finger painting. Always use washable, non-toxic paint made just for kids. We like the Crayola Washable Craft Paint.

If you don’t have washable paint, try making spice paint!

Homemade Spice Paint

To make spice paint, mix a ratio of 1:1 water and flour and stir in different spices for different colors. We recently did spice paint and used Cinnamon (brown), Paprika (red), and Marjoram (green). Use whatever spices you have on hand or save expired spices to make spice paint in the future.

You can use spice paint to paint on paper with a paintbrush, or set up a tarp outside and let your kids finger paint with spice paint for a full sensory experience.

Summary of Painting with Toddlers

Finally, don’t stress and let your toddlers have fun! Doing fun activities is about making memories and letting your toddlers make a mess and learn through play.

To review my 3 easy tips for painting with toddlers:

  1. If you don’t have a smock, us a grocery bag instead.
  2. Use press and seal wrap to protect your table.
  3. Use a paper plate to hold paint or craft supplies and always use washable paint.

What have you used in a pinch when your toddler wanted to craft or paint? Let me know in the comments below

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3 Easy Tips for Painting with Toddlers

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