Mess-Free Painting for Babies & Toddlers

While I’m all about letting Chase get really messy, sometimes when there’s not time for a bath or I just want a quick distraction while I make dinner or unload the dishwasher, I use bag painting as my go-to project. This activity is a throwback from my preschool teaching days and one that is great for both babies and toddlers. I’ve done this with Chase several times, starting when he was probably around 5 months old and he gets more interested in it each time we do it. I’ve also done this activity with children as old as 2 and it’s still fun for that age group as well.

You will need the following supplies for this project, most of which you probably already have on hand at home:

  • Tempera paint or fingerpaint in several colors
  • Gallon size freezer bag
  • A few pieces of duct tape or other strong tape
  • A pad of heavy paper, preferably for use with painting
  • A pair of scissors

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My paper is a little too long to fit in the bag, so I had to cut a couple inches off the bottom, hence the scissors.

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Once that’s done, spread each color around inside the bag (if your child is older, you can let him or her do this part.)

Then, seal up the bag and tape it down to a table or highchair so it won’t move around while they’re creating their masterpiece. Then let your little Picasso go to work.

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The artwork actually comes out looking really cool, especially if the colors blend to make other colors (in this case, green) and not a shade of poop brown. It’s a fun lesson in combining colors to make new colors if you have a toddler who will understand the concept. I also sometimes let Chase run his cars over the paint to help spread it around or give him something he can smash it with.

Note: When I remove it from the bag, I usually cut the sides of the bag off so it doesn’t smudge when I pull it out, but you can do it however you want.

All around, a very easy activity that’s great in a pinch.

Plus, it’s one piece of kid art that you probably won’t be in a hurry to throw away. Maybe.

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Melissa Mowry

Melissa Mowry is a stay at home mom to 3 year old Chase and the slightly younger guy, Sam. She is the main voice behind One Mother to Another, which she started in July 2014 as a way to connect with other moms who felt just as lonely as she did some days. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Adam, and they live in their home state of Rhode Island. Melissa's work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Coffee + Crumbs and Mamapedia, among others. Her book, One Mother to Another: This Is Just Between Us is for sale on Amazon.
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