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By Fraser Sensory Supports and Training Program Manager Gina Brady • finger painting, finger painting benefits, how does finger painting help kids, how does finger painting help with kids development, finger painting and childrens development, finger painting helps kids build skills, finger painting benefits • February 29, 2024

Finger painting is a joy-filled activity for children. It allows them to get their hands dirty and express themselves. But did you know finger painting also helps children’s development?

“Finger painting is a beneficial activity for children from infants to grade schoolers because it helps them develop important skills,” says Gina Brady, Fraser Sensory Supports and Training Program Manager.  

Here are some skills that finger painting can help develop for different age groups.

1. Sensory exploration for infants and toddlers

For infants and toddlers, finger painting provides a hands-on sensory experience. It allows them to explore the textures and temperatures of the paint. This can help them learn to be receptive to textures of food and clothing.

“At Fraser School®, we offer opportunities to get messy, and fingerpainting is just one of those activities. We know children need to explore to learn. Fingerpainting gives that input through touch, while talking about colors, mixing colors, textures, etc.,” says Chris Bentley, Fraser School Director.

Fraser School is an inclusive environment that welcomes disabled, neurodiverse and neurotypical children. The play-based strategy encourages social interactions, while focusing on the unique abilities of each child. The school serves children from 6 weeks to 6 years of age through childcare, preschool, and pre-K programs that prepare children for lifelong educational success. The school is now accepting applications for childcare and classroom openings.

2. Daily living skills for toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children

Finger painting helps children practice independence with activities of daily living. Kids may put on a paint shirt to cover their clothing, so they practice skills like buttoning, tying, or zipping. After the painting is done, children wash the paint off their hands, which teaches them an important self-care and hygiene skill.

3. Fine motor skills for preschoolers

Preschool-age kids can improve their fine motor skills through finger painting. They might use a brush to put paint onto their hands, which supports hand-eye coordination. When they put their fingers and handprints inside shapes on paper, they build their visual motor development skills. Finger painting may also include kids copying lines and shapes, which is a foundation for future writing skills.

4. Cognitive development for preschoolers and school-aged kids

While it may seem carefree, children often create a plan for their artwork, which helps with their cognitive development. It also helps foster problem-solving skills.

5. Language development for preschoolers and school-aged children

Describing their artwork to adults or peers helps build vocabulary and communication skills. During the art activity, children must also follow the teacher’s directions, which builds receptive language skills, too.

6. Social interaction for preschoolers and school-aged children

When done in a group setting, finger painting promotes social interaction and cooperation. Children share materials, collaborate on art projects, and learn from each other.

7. Emotional regulation for school-aged kids

Finger painting can also teach children to regulate their emotions. Art can be used to express their feelings. They may also link certain colors to the emotions, like red for mad or yellow for happy. Children can paint scenes of what makes them feel these emotions and what strategies can help if their feelings become out of control.

8. Relaxation and stress reduction for all ages

Engaging in a creative and tactile activity like finger painting can have a calming effect on children, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.