As you probably could have guessed, there are many wonderful benefits of painting for toddlers. From language development to hand-eye coordination, the opportunities to learn during this activity are endless!
So grab some paint and paper and let your child’s imagination run free as they explore and develop their creativity!
10 Benefits of Painting For Toddlers
Drawing and painting are both amazing activities to help your child learn through play. Here are the 10 major developmental benefits of painting for toddlers.
1. Improved Self-Esteem
Improving a child’s self-esteem through painting is a surprising benefit to many parents.
One study concluded that when adults provided emotional feedback and ask open-ended questions about the child’s artwork, their self-esteem, and confidence actually increased.
When children have a higher self-esteem they tend to perform better academically, socially, and behaviorally.
2. Fine Motor Movements
Painting is an amazing fine motor activity that helps to strengthen the little muscle groups in children’s hands and fingers.
When children hold and maneuver the different art supplies they improve their hand dexterity which is an important skill for proper hand-writing.
Painting is a great way to help grow your child’s creativity. As they mix and match the different colors and tools, children learn to take creative risks and use new ways of thinking.
When kids are given the freedom to paint whatever they want without an end goal, they are able to explore and find their own unique style.
Painting also provides children with a safe and comfortable environment to express themselves without fear of judgment.
4. Sensory Development
Allowing your child to get a little messy while painting is a great way to get your child involved in sensory play!
As children interact with the various textures and colors using their senses, they are developing nerve connections and pathways in their brain which are important for cognitive and sensory development.
5. Reduces Stress Levels
The process of making art is an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Research actually shows that creating an art piece reduces cortisol levels and helps promote positive responses to stress.
For children who struggle with worry and anxiety, painting can be a fun and easy way to help them cope and manage stress.
6. Pre-Writing Skills
Improving your child’s pre-writing skills is one of the many benefits of painting for toddlers.
These are essentially the basic foundational skills children need to learn before they can learn how to formally write.
The first step in learning to write numbers and letters is actually creating various strokes, lines, and scribbles when drawing and painting.
7. Spatial Awareness
Spatial awareness is the ability to understand where objects are in a given space. For young children, it is all about understanding words like on, off, in front, behind, above, and below.
When toddlers paint they also learn how to visualize in advance the different shapes and objects they want to create. Once they begin, they have to plan where things will be placed in the limited space they have to work.
Painting is largely a trial-and-error process for toddlers. As they work, children learn to take risks and make mistakes in a safe environment.
When something does not turn out as planned during a project, children have to use their problem-solving skills to find a creative solution.
9. Color Learning
While naming colors seems like second nature to most adults, the concept of colors is actually a very complex cognitive task for toddlers.
Painting is a great way to help your child learn, explore, and interact with different colors. As a parent or caregiver, it can be helpful to speak with your child about all the different colors they are using.
10. Language Development
Painting activities are a great way to help build your child’s vocabulary and communication skills.
Since kids tend to be super excited to share and talk about their art, it is important to ask them open-ended questions like, ”What did you paint?” or ”Tell me more about your beautiful painting!”.
By asking these types of questions, you are encouraging your toddler to explore and stretch their verbal and descriptive skills.
6 Easy Painting Ideas for Toddlers
To get all of the benefits of painting for toddlers, try using different materials to make it extra fun and engaging! Here are a couple of our favorite unique painting ideas.
1. Bubble Wrap Painting
Painting with bubble wrap is a great way to help your child explore different patterns and textures.
First squeeze some paint onto the bubble wrap. Then, use a paintbrush to smear it across the bubble wrap. Finally, use a plain piece of paper and gently press it against the paint.
Kids love seeing the end result! Try mixing and matching different colors to make it extra fun!
2. Splatter Painting
This is a really fun activity that toddlers, preschoolers, and even adults enjoy doing!
Since this activity can get a little messy, for very young children it is best to do this activity outside using watered-down washable tempera paint.
All you need to do is lay out a large sheet of paper, fill a cup with slightly watered-down paint, and get splattering with different colors and paintbrushes!
3. Box Painting
I don’t know a toddler who doesn’t love playing with cardboard boxes!
For this simple activity, provide your child with a box, some brushes, and paint, and let their creativity run wild as they paint where ever and whatever they want on the box!
4. Sponge Painting
Sponges and washable paint are the perfect combination for creating beautiful pictures and patterns!
Whether you want to buy fun craft sponges, or just use the ones you have at home, this activity is super easy and creative!
5. Marble Painting
This activity was actually my favorite way to paint as a child! I used to beg my mom to do it with me at least once a week!
First, find a rimmed baking sheet and line it with newspaper. Then, place a white sheet of paper down and drop little dots of paint on the white sheet. Finally, add the marbles and wiggle the baking sheet all around!
Watch as beautiful lines and streaks appear on the paper!
6. Finger Painting
This is a great activity even for the youngest toddlers!
Even though it does get a little messy, the benefits they will receive from the sensory experience alone are worth it!
It might be helpful to tape the paper down to a piece of cardboard and put your child in some old clothes to help control the mess.
Children learn best through play! And painting is an amazing way to help your child grow and develop!
I hope you enjoy doing some of these easy painting ideas with your little ones!