If you’ve only ever painted with a paintbrush, then you are missing out! As a child I remember having loads of fun painting with potatoes making prints – And looking back, it was so simple but sometimes we miss the obvious as parents!
This list of painting tools for toddlers covers everything from household items to natural things you might find on a walk! Essentially anything can be used to paint with, so let this list inspire you to try a new way of painting with your toddler!
Included in this post is a printable checklist so you can check each one off as you try it 🙂 And there will of course be examples throughout to get you inspired to get painting with your toddler or preschooler at home.
These ideas are designed to be fun activities for your toddler and give them opportunity to explore the benefits of painting and messy play – they are not necessarily going to make the best art pieces 😛
Get Your Painting Tools for Toddlers Checklist!
Print off this list and tick off each painting tool as you use it to see just how many different ways you can paint with your toddler or preschooler!
Painting tools you might find in your Kitchen
The kitchen is full of toddler toys if you look hard enough and it’s no exception when it comes to painting tools for toddlers – there are absolutely loads of things you can use to paint with in your kitchen – how many have you tried?!
- Potato Masher – This is great for making fun patterns and easy to hold
- Kitchen Roll Tube – Simply use this to make circles
- Foil Balls – Painting on or with the foil makes a great activity
- Spoons – use the back of the soon to spread, or scoop and drop paint
- Cookie Cutters – Dipping cutters in paint to make great shapes
- Corks – These make lovely dots over a page and chunky to grip
- Straws – Paint with the ends or blow through straw to paint
- Forks – These make great patterns on paper
- Dish Sponge – You can make great rainbow patterns with a sponge check out Rainbow Crafts for Toddlers
- Pastry Brush – Chunkier than a paint brush to hold
- Whisk – This is great for making in swirly patterns
- Spatula – Spread paint and mix colours with a big spatula
- Scrubbing Brush – Either pat on paper or brush across to create some great sensory paintings
- Rolling Pin – Roll your paint together with this fun tool
- Scouring Pad – Another great textured item to paint with
- Mop head – For messy play this is a great outdoor painting activity
- Jar Lids – Print circles with a variety of shapes and sizes
- Sieve – Either pour paint through sieve or press down to make patterns
- Tumble dryer balls – These are great sensory items and are great for rolling in paint
- Ketchup Bottle – Fill an empty bottle with paint and squeeze it out
- Plastic pizza cutter – roll the cutter through paint to make some great lines and shapes
- Bottle Tops – Print circles with bottles tops or use to spread paint
Nature's own free painting tools for toddlers
These are all freely available and can be collected on a walk with your little one 🙂
- Leaves – Leaf printing is a really fun activity all year round
- Twigs – Use twigs to mark make in paint or use them as ‘brush handles’ by attaching leaves to the end
- Flowers – Press flowers into paint to make some beautiful patterns
- Shells – Paint on the shells or use them as stamps
- Feathers – Make prints by painting over feathers or use them as light brushes
- Pine cones – Great for printing and rolling in paint but also great for painting themselves
- Sycamore Seeds – A lovely autumnal painting tool
Your child's toy-box of painting possibilities!
Your child probably has a whole host of things that they could paint with tucked away in their toy-box. This list gives you some ideas of what could be used for painting at home.
- Toys cars – Driving cars through paint to make tire marks is a must try activity if you haven’t already!
- Duplo Bricks – Printing with the iconic markings of Duplo is really fun
- Marbles – Put paper in a baking tray and roll marbles around for a great swirl painting
- Wooden Blocks – Use to print patterns
- Toy Figures (footprints) – Walking figures in paint and making footprints on paper, this works great with animals too
- Playdough – This makes a great accompaniment to paint, squishing paint onto paper
- Ping pong balls – Roll these in paint to make fun patterns
- Foam bath letters – These are great because they wash clean after you’ve used them for stamping
- Bubbles – Blowing bubbles on paint is a lot of fun and makes beautiful patterns
- Water Gun – Paint with water on a fence with a water gun!
- Toy hammer – Smash some paint with a toy hammer (you could fill something with paint to smash)
- Water beads – Roll water beads over paper or in paint and them squish on page (I recommend using edible water beads with a toddler)
Foods that are great for painting with
It’s always best to use foods sparingly when painting so as not waste – but I’m okay with using the occasional vegetable for painting as I believe they are a great sensory painting tool for toddlers (and it can be a good way to introduce painting along with edible paint if your child puts everything in their mouth!)
- Salt – Draw a picture with PVA glue and sprinkle with salt then drip paint onto the salt and watch it spread
- Potatoes – Cut shapes and print with paint
- Spaghetti – This could be cooked or dried. Tie together to create a brush for sweeping the paint
- Baking Soda – this makes paint fizz – you can see an example here in the Best 50 Go To Toddler Activities
- Peppers – when cut through the middle peppers make a lovely flower shape for painting with
- Broccoli – A great hands on painting tool for toddlers
- Corn on the cob – Rolling corn into paint is so much fun and has a lovely effect
- Carrots – Cut up to make lots of different size stamps
- Lemons – Makes a lovely citrus shape print and smells good too!
- Celery – Add a lovely curve to your paintings
Crafty painting tools for toddlers
We raided the craft cupboard and stationary supplies to see what we had that we could use for painting – this list is not exhaustive, I’d love to know if you have any other suggestions?
- Pipe cleaners – Mold into shapes to print with
- Foam shapes – Use shop bought craft foam shapes to paint with
- Paint rollers – This could be child’s painting roller or a decorating roller
- Wool – Pulling wool through paint to make lines
- Cardboard cut outs – Simply cut out your owns shapes or cuts to make different marks
- Crepe paper – Roll up or fold to dab on paper
- Stencils – Stencils are great for making fun pictures
- Ribbon – Lay flat and paint over or pull through paint to create streaks
- Tissue paper – Screw up into balls and use to dab
- Pencil erasers – The rubber on the end of a pencil is great for making dots with paint
- Pom poms – Use these to dab paint onto paper
- String – Wrap, coil or paint over the string
- Elastic bands – Flicking bands onto paint is messy but fun!
Things from your bathroom you can paint with
Yes, the bathroom – It is packed with painting tools for toddlers, you just don’t know it yet! Some of these items offer a really fun way to paint and you should definitely give them a go 🙂
- Cotton Buds (Q-tips) – Great fine motor skills painting activity for toddlers
- Toothbrush – A great alternative to a traditional paintbrush
- Comb – Make lined patterns with a wide-toothed comb
- Cotton Wool balls – Print with or paint on to
- Eye droppers – fill with paint or fill with water to drop on paint and watch it spread
- Toilet roll tubes – use for circles or cut into the bottom to make shapes
- Shower pouf – A great painting tool for toddlers who are younger
- Makeup sponge – Makes a lovely painting tool that can be reused after washing
- Shower squeegee – Spread paint over a large surface with a shower squeegee
Painting creatively with your toddlers hands and feet
If you’re toddler loves to get their hands stuck in when it comes to paint, then you should give some of these examples below a go!
- Socks on hands – A different way to paint with hands and spread paint around
- Wellies – Fun outdoor activity making wellie paint prints
- Thimble on finger – Adding a thimble to a finger to make some interesting prints
- Finger Prints – Make trees or big art pieces with little fingers
- Hand prints – These make wonderful keepsake paintings
- Foot prints – Get messy and have fun letting your little one walk through paint!
Miscellaneous Painting Tools for Toddlers
And finally we have the list of things that didn’t fit anywhere else – These are a mixture of household items and random bits and bobs that you might just own!
- Bubble wrap – this is a super fun one and it can be mess free if you tape the bubble wrap down over the paint
- Balloons – Water balloons would work well for this, or just pressing small balloons onto the paint
- Ice cubes – Freeze Ice cubes with a lolly stick in and uses them as you would brushes
- Pool Noodle – Cut up a pool noddle to make lots of circle stamps (or any pipe insulation)
- Credit Cards – The lines ore great for painting and wipe clean very easily (maybe best to use an old gift card though!!)
- Clothes pegs – Either use on their own to paint or use them to hold other painting tools for toddlers
- Spray bottle – Fill with diluted paint and spray some fun pictures (probably best done outside)
- Buttons – Use as stamps and have fun watching the paint ooze through the button holes!
- Netting – Dragging netting material through paint is a lot of fun!
- Paint Scraper tool – Use to make set marks in paint and spread
- String of beads – Christmas beads that you hang on a tree are great for this making lovely marks on paper
- Keys – Use as stamps or drag to make lines
- Coins – Paint over or use as stamps again
- Coat hanger – Great for large scale painting. Use as a stamp and you could even paint some clothes to hang from them
- Golf balls – Lovely texture to paint with when rolling
- Pipettes – Try drip painting with this inexpensive tool
- Magnets – Use a magnetic tray to drag magnets along paper from underneath making fun shapes
- Golf tee – Use the end to make circle prints over paper
- Curtain Rings – Great for making circle / oval shapes with paint
- Hessian fabric – Try using this rough fabric to make prints or just as a way to spread paint
How many Painting Tools for Toddlers will you try?
With so many options to choose from when it comes to painting tools for toddlers, you’ll have no trouble finding a painting activity that works for you and your little one!
Whether you try:
- Using Kitchen Utensils and Household Items such as whisks and rolling pins
- Making the most of natural resources like leaves and pine cones
- Experimenting with painting using the contents of your child’s toy box
- Creating edible painting options with food and consumable items such as potatoes and salt
- Using craft items to make new painting experiences like pipe cleaner stamps
- Having a look around your bathroom for painting alternatives such as toothbrushes
- Getting stuck into paint literally with hands and feet
- Using an array of household items for awesome paint patterns
Don’t forget to print of the checklist so you can keep track of what you’ve tried and let me know if there are any other ideas that would work well as painting tools for toddler in the comment below 🙂
Louisa | Mum’s Creative Cupboard x
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