Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Think your toddler is too young for painting? No way! We've put together a fantastic list of painting ideas for toddlers that'll encourage young children to think about colors, textures, shapes, and more. Many of these toddler painting ideas encourage toddlers to experiment with different painting tools, including their fingers, sponges, flowers, toys, and lots of other options making painting a fun sensory experience. 

painting ideas for toddlers

You'll find so many ways to explore the art of painting with your toddler. Get started on one of these projects today!

Many of these painting activities for toddlers are about enjoying the painting process rather than having a perfectly finished final painting. Take a look at our article about process art to find out more about the benefits of this type of art for your toddler. 

If you love painting you must also check out our NEW BOOK full of fun painting projects for kids. Our book is aimed at children aged 3-10, but with supervision, there are lots of painting ideas that toddlers would enjoy. 

painting ideas for kids

You might also like to check out our list of baby painting ideas if you have younger children or our list of painting ideas for kids if you have older children. We also have a list of mess free painting ideas that are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and a list of watercolor painting ideas for kids.

If you are looking for really easy painting ideas that require little set up then you might also like our painting prompts for kids. These are great for encouraging children to use their imagination and get creative. 

Our canvas painting ideas are what you need if you want to create a special wall-worthy piece of artwork!

Painting Ideas for Toddlers

Here are just a handful of our favourite painting ideas for toddlers that we've done right here at Messy Little Monster. These activities are fun, outside-the-box painting ideas that'll challenge your toddler to better explore the world through colour.

Toddler painting ideas


Water Pistol Painting

Grab the water pistols and a canvas to try our fantastically fun Water Pistol Painting activity! Boys and girls alike will have a blast shooting paint at the canvas. It's such a fun way to create some wall-worthy art.

Water Pistol Painting - Painting ideas for toddlers


Paint a Rainbow

Kids just love rainbows! Our Rainbow Sponge Painting is a terrific example of using paint to make rainbows with toddlers in a fail-proof way. It's seriously so easy to create a beautiful rainbow every time. You don't even need to paint a full rainbow, just dap a sponge filled with rainbow colours to create a beautiful effect. 

Rainbow sponge painting - Painting ideas for toddlers


Paint Rolling Outdoor Art

If you have a slide, head outdoors to try this fun Painting with Balls idea. It's so much fun to see the paint-covered balls rolling over the paper, creating streaks and splats of color.

Painting with balls - painting ideas for toddlers


Edible Paint

Our Edible Finger Paint is perfect for toddlers and babies. Toddlers are still at that age where they like to explore the tastes of things, so taste-safe paints are definitely appropriate at this age!

Edible finger paint - painting ideas for toddlers


Ice Painting

Ice painting is a great painting idea that involves all the senses. Toddlers (or even babies) can have fun exploring the feeling of the cold ice as they watch it make colourful patterns on their paper. This is a great taste-safe painting idea too!

Ice painting idea for babies and toddlers


Circle Painting

Toddlers can have fun focusing on circles with this fun Circle Painting. Using a variety of different-sized stamps and paint in various colours toddlers can make patterns and experiment with the marks they can make on paper. Lids, bottles and tubes are all great to use for creating circles. 

Painting circles - art for toddlers


Paper Towel Painting

We did this Paper Towel Painting for Easter, but you can do it any time of year. This would be fun to do in red, white, and blue for patriotic holidays or greens and reds for Christmas.

Paper towel painting - painting ideas for toddlers

Cotton Bud Painting

Cotton buds (q sticks) make great paintbrushes for little hands. Toddlers and preschoolers are always eager to try painting with different tools. Cotton bud painting is great as you can use the cotton buds to create lots of little dots as well as paint lines. Older kids can use the dots to create patterns or even pictures. 

Cotton bud painting for toddlers and preschoolers

Handprint Fall Tree

We did this process art Handprint Fall Tree for autumn, but really, you could do it for spring or summer, too, using green paint instead of fall colors. Dabbing paint on with leaf-shaped sponges gave the handprint tree lots of amazing texture.

Handprint tree - painting ideas for toddlers


2D Shape Painting

Our 2D Shape Painting activity is such an easy way to teach kids basic shapes, such as hearts, circles, triangles, and squares. Odds are, you probably have everything that you need at home for this painting activity already—no special tools are required!

2D shape painting - painting ideas for toddlers


Painting with Nature

Make your own paintbrushes and paint with nature. Tie pieces of nature to sticks and then dip them in paint to create some really fun textures. 

Painting with nature for kids

Bubble Wrap Painting Picture Frame

You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to make this cute Bubble Wrap Painting Picture Frame with your toddler. This easy painting technique is as simple as stamping the bubble wrap on the frame! It makes a beautiful gift for parents or grandparents.

Bubble wrap painting ideas for toddlers


Foil Painting

Painting on different materials like foil is exciting for children. Foil Painting is a fun choice because the paint spreads differently on aluminium foil, and your child will hear different noises as he or she makes marks across the surface. 

Painting ideas for toddlers - foil painting


Apple Themed Art

Have fun and get messy with some Apple Painting. Use apples to apply paint, roll the apples around in drips of paint on the picture, or cover your child's handprints in the paint to make a handprint apple craft.

Apple painting - painting ideas for toddlers

Cling Film Painting 

Have fun experiencing the feeling of paint under cling film. Toddlers and preschoolers will love squishing the paint around as they watch it spread. The best thing about cling film painting is there is no mess! 

Cling film painting for toddlers and preschoolers

Painting using Plastic Eggs

Plastic eggs are great to use for painting as they are the perfect size for little hands to use as a stamp. If you are looking for a painting idea to use around Easter time then Painting with Plastic Eggs has to be the one!

plastic egg painting idea for toddlers

Cork Painting

Corks are great to use as stamps in paint. A really fun way of making toddler crafts is to cut out a shape (in this case a snowflake) and then provide the materials for your toddler to paint it. For the snowflake, we had fun painting with corks using silver and white paint. 

toddler snowflake painting using corks

Bread Painting

Painting on bread definitely has the novelty factor. Toddlers and preschoolers (in fact kids of all ages) will love creating edible art. Bread painting is easy to set up and once the bread is toasted it makes a colourful snack. 

bread painting for kids

Lavender Painting with Q Tips

Toddlers and preschoolers will have a lot of fun creating their own lavender painting using a couple of fun painting techniques. Younger children might need a little help knowing where to place the petals, but with a bit of help they can easily create their own beautiful flower painting. 

lavender flower painting for toddlers and preschoolers

Sunflower Painting

Another fun flower painting idea for toddlers and preschoolers is this sunflower painting that is created using a toilet paper roll stamp. Learn how to make a sunflower painting in just a few easy steps. 

sunflower painting ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

Here is a selection of painting ideas for every letter of the alphabet! This a-z of painting ideas for kids printable can be purchased from the Messy Little Monster Shop

a-z painting ideas for kids

Check out our list of Q Tip Painting Ideas too! 


More Toddler Painting Ideas

Looking for more toddler painting ideas? You've got it! You'll find some fantastic and creative painting activities for toddlers below.

Painting activities for toddlers

Splat Painting Process Art Activity

Use sponges cut into small pieces to try this Process Art Activity from Taming Little Monsters. Use a wooden spoon or mallet to hammer the sponge to make the paint splatter across the page. You may need to thin the paint out a little to get a good splatter effect.

Splat painting - painting ideas for toddlers


Scrunch Painting

Explore several different textures and patterns with this easy Scrunch Painting idea from Picklebums. Use any sort of material that you can scrunch—aluminum foil, paper, plastic bags, newspaper, cotton, tissue paper, and more to see what sorts of patterns the scrunched material makes. Scrunching the materials is excellent fine motor practice for little hands.

Scrunch painting - painting ideas for toddlers


Watercolor Process Art

Have you ever tried making watercolor art without paint? This Watercolor Process Art by Team Cartwright shows just how easy it is using markers and water in spray bottles. Both coloring and spraying provide fine motor practice for those tiny toddler hands.

watercolor painting ideas for toddlers

Flour Paint

Have you ever made Flour Paint? This recipe from Simple Fun for Kids uses common household ingredients such as flour, water, and food coloring to make taste-safe paint for little ones. Even though it is taste-safe, it's not so tasty that most children will want to consume it, which is helpful when you're trying to teach kids not to put things in their mouths.

Flour paint recipe - painting ideas for toddlers


Washable Window Paint

Let the kids paint the windows—really! This Washable Paint for windows by Taming Little Monsters goes on quickly and washes off just as easily. If you have washable paint, dish soap, and flour on hand, you can make a batch of this paint in just a couple of minutes.

Window paint - painting idea for toddlers


Shapes Resist Painting

Here's another fun shape painting activity that can reinforce the learning of basic shapes. This Toddler Resist Painting by Fun with Mama involves rolling paint over shape cutouts to create resist art. It's lovely.

Resist painting - Painting ideas for toddlers


String Painting

This String Painting activity by Thimble and Twig is a fantastic way to explore textures and colors. Use yarn or string dipped in paint. Children can then drag the string over the paper, smash the strings on the paper using their hands, or press the strings between the halves of the paper.

String painting ideas for toddlers


Mesh Dabber Painting

Looking for an easy art activity? Try Mesh Dabber Painting from Picklebums. Once you make the dabbers, they're ready to dab in the paint and then dab on the paper to create mesh patterns on the page.

Mesh dabber painting - painting ideas for toddlers.


Stomping Bubble Wrap Painting

You'll receive lots of laughs and giggles when you wrap your toddler's feet in bubble wrap to try this super fun Stomp Painting idea by The Soccer Mom Blog. It's a messy painting activity that's perfect for a beautiful, sunny day outside.

Stomp bubble wrap painting - painting ideas for toddlers.


Mess-Free Painting

Moms, you'll love this no mess Smush Painting idea from Mama Smiles. It keeps the paint contained, but allows kids to smush and move the paint around with their fingers underneath the plastic.

no mess painting ideas for toddlers


Muddy Pig Sensory Art

For another mess-free idea, try this Muddy Pig Sensory Art activity by Teaching 2 and 3-Year-Olds. Brown paint and shaving cream provide lots of squishy fun for kids to explore without making a big mess!

Muddy pig mess free painting ideas for toddlers


Marshmallow Edible Paint

Yum! Your toddler will absolutely love painting and tasting this Marshmallow Edible Paint from Crafts by Amanda. It's made with marshmallows, water, corn syrup, and food coloring. Super simple! Use it to paint on cookies or paper.

Marshmallow edible paint - painting ideas for toddlers.

Strawberry Number Painting

Practice numbers while enjoying a fun painting activity with this Strawberry Number Painting from Welcome to Mommyhood. It's such a cute way to do fingerprint painting with an educational slant.

Number painting ideas for toddlers


Easy Toddler Name Art

Make some Toddler Name Art for your toddler's room, using a painting done by your toddler! This simple piece of art from Learn with Play at Home is created by using tape to spell out the name and then allowing your toddler to paint the canvas. Peel away the tape to reveal the name in white! If you have a cutting machine to create vinyl letters, those work nicely, too.

toddler name art - painting ideas for toddlers


Nature Process Art

Ditch the paintbrushes for a day and use materials from nature instead for this Nature Process Art Activity from School Time Snippets. Take a walk or go into your own backyard to find flowers, pinecones, sticks, leaves, and berries to paint with. Brush the materials along the paper or stamp them to create a print. 

nature process art - painting ideas for toddlers

Now you have loads of painting ideas for toddlers to keep those little hands and minds engaged. Pin this list of toddler painting ideas to save it for later!

Painting ideas for toddlers.

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