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5 Fun and Easy Finger Painting Projects for Kids

Finger painting is the perfect art project for kids, whether at home, school, or somewhere else. If you have ever watched a group of children finger paint, you have probably felt amazed at how absorbed in the work they get and how long it holds their attention. With the chance to be creative, while also getting messy, it’s not hard to see why kids love it so much! 

If you’re looking for a fun project to fill an afternoon, here are five great finger painting projects for kids!

1. Make a Seasonal Tree 

painted handprint on paper

You probably made a handprint tree of some kind back when you were in school. It is a classic art project for good reason! Kids love the chance to get a bit messy and see their own handprint get turned into a tree. With colorful fall foliage, this project doubles as a lesson about the seasons. 

What You Need:

  • Paper 
  • Paint in primary colors 
  • Paintbrush

To start out, have your kids choose a color to make their tree trunk. You’ll need a paintbrush for this part. If you prefer to keep things simple, choose brown or black for the handprint “trunk”. They’ll love the chance to get paint all over their hands and see their own handprint!

finger paint handprint with trunk added

Once they have made their handprints, have them elongate them slightly to be a bit more tree-shaped. They can use a paintbrush for this or their fingers. 

handprint tree finger paint project complete with fingerprint leaves.

Then it’s time to start the leaves! You may want to clean their hands to avoid mixing the colors of the trunk and the leaves. If they prefer, they can also use a Q-tip to make the leaves, with individual ones for red, yellow, orange, and brown. 

2. Design a Thumbprint Zoo

thumb print teddy bear

Doing thumbprint art is a fun and less messy way to do finger painting with kids. For this project, challenge them to find ways to make animals out of thumbprints, resulting in a finger paint zoo! 

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Paint
  • crayon or marker
thumb print giraffe

For this project, we experimented with making a giraffe, a bear, a tiger, and an elephant, but you can make any animals you like! 

thumb print elephant

We also decided to combine the painting with details in crayon and pen. This let us add legs, whiskers, eyes, stripes, and other elements. Of course, if you prefer to stick to just finger paint, that’s fine as well! 

thumb print tiger

Kids love projects like these, since they get to be creative and make their favorite animals. You might find them making their favorite animal over and over again or doing a variety. All of these options are fun and give them a chance to make something uniquely their own! 

3. Fashion Some Thumbprint Butterflies

finger paint thumb prints arranged in groups of 4, like butterfly wings.

Thumbprint butterflies are a great finger painting project because there are only a few steps. Once you model how to do it, kids will catch on quickly and enjoy making their own butterflies in a range of colors!

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Paint in a variety of colors
  • Crayons
  • Optional: glue, pipe cleaners, googly eyes

This project is pretty straightforward: choose a color or colors and make four thumbprints in wing shapes. Then you can add the body, head, and antennae in crayon, as I have done here. Or if you want to make things a bit more intricate, grab some glue and pipe cleaners and let the kids really go to town! 

the same finger prints from the prior picture with the butterfly's bodies added in with crayon.

4. Turn Rocks Into Finger Painted Paper Weights

If your kids are like mine, they are constantly bringing rocks into the house. You might not even need to go outside to find the rocks for these fun finger painted paper weights. 

Like the previous idea, this one is pretty straightforward. But kids will love the chance to customize their own paper weight and paint on a new canvas.

Or, if they want, they can take their freshly painted rocks out the next time you go grocery shopping and hide them somewhere for someone else to find. The painted rock trend has been growing in recent years and kids love participating in this fun activity.

finger painted rocks

What You Need:

  • Several medium-sized rocks with a flat surface
  • Paint
  • Optional: stickers, construction paper, glue, glitter, other decorations 

To make it even more interesting, let them add other elements like stickers, glitter, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, or whatever else they choose. They will especially love this craft if you design it to be a gift for a loved one who works in an office, such as a parent, grandparent, or neighbor. Alternatively, you can plan the project as garden decorations rather than paper weights and return the rocks to your yard the next day. 

5. Make a Happy Caterpillar

If your kids are fans of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, they will love making a colorful caterpillar of their own out of paint. This is another simple project that kids will quickly get the hang of, then enjoy choosing their colors and making the caterpillar their own. 

You could even read the book to them while they create their new creeping creatures.

What You Need:

  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Crayon or pen
multiple finger prints in a row

To start, make a row of thumbprints with paint. Let the kids choose their own colors, whether they want each print to be the same or have a range of colors. I went for a rainbow theme with mine, but you can choose whatever you like!

Let the prints dry and then use a crayon or pen to add a face, antennae, and feet. If you like, you can pair the project with a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

the same row of thumbprints with legs, face, and antenna added with crayon.

FAQ

What do Kids Learn From Finger Painting? 

Finger painting is a wonderful way for kids to engage in sensory play. Sensory play allows them to use many of their senses while enjoying a creative outlet. Finger painting can also teach children many basic preschool lessons like primary and secondary colors, color mixing and matching, and shapes. 

What Paint Should You Use For Finger Painting? 

If you are painting with children, you should always use washable paint. It is not hard to explain why — no matter how much you might try, paint is bound to get on their clothes and skin, and quite possibly everywhere else. To save your furniture and peace of mind, make sure that you use washable paint whenever doing paint projects with children. 

Conclusion

Whether at home or in school, almost every child loves finger painting. These simple finger painting projects are the perfect way to get kids engaged and help them enjoy some sensory play! Do you have a favorite finger painting project? Let us know in the comments! 

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