Toddler Painting Tips

These toddler painting tips are to help you either stay unflustered when painting with your little one or to help you get started

When you decide to paint with toddlers you need to consider a few things. For some moms this is just too much mess, and that is fine. There was a season when I had 3 very young children and painting took a back seat for a long time.

But when my first child was born I had lots more time to let her paint as there wasn'’t a baby crawling through the paint and I could supervise that the paper was the only thing being painted and not the walls of my home. Yes, both these situations did actually happen – and worse! So we put painting on hold for a bit.

What To Do With Your Toddler Painting Tips

Painting area

Your painting area need not stay the same for each project. If you are going to paint large items like boxes, its best to do that outside. If you are painting a picture an upright easel is nice to set up and even indoors on a rainy day. Just place some newspaper around and under the easel.

If you are doing small objects then a kiddie plastic table covered with newspaper is great.

Painting in the shower can work too! This way once your toddler is done you can remove the art work and shower down the paint.


You can buy plastic aprons with or without sleeves, but we have found that an old work shirt of daddy’s works well too!

You can also take a plastic grocery bag, cut off the bottom and use that (the handles become the arm holes)

BUT please make sure you do not leave your toddler with the bag when you are finished! Plastic bags are very dangerous around little ones.

And if all else fails and you still can’t keep your toddler clean, let them paint outside with just their diaper on and place them in a warm bath as soon as they are done!

Clean up

When painting you need to accept that there will be mess! So choose a quiet day when you don’t feel pressurized. Preparing your area by covering the working surface with newspaper is a must! Afterwards you can just roll this up and place in your rubbish bin.

Paint brushes need to be washed off immediately so they do not harden with the paint on.

Paint containers with lids are always a win as you can just seal them if there is leftover paint. Some craft stores even sell containers like this so that you can mix up more paint than needed and store it like that afterwards.

If you don’t have containers like this then make sure you wash the paint down the sink immediately on completion.


If you let your toddler wear and apron your stains will be minimized but, as with one of my children, she always seemed to find the places that were not covered by the apron and get paint on them.

Here are some tried and tested toddler painting tips to prevent and treat stains:

Make sure your toddler is wearing old clothes on painting day.
Mix a teaspoon of clothes washing powder into your tempura paint.
Let them paint in their diaper on a warm day.
Make sure you paint in a prepared area.

Storing art work

Decide on a wall where you will display any “hang able” pieces of art. Change the art work each quarter. Take old art work down from the walls. Decide on whether they are “keepers” or can be thrown away. Art that is kept is put into a big folder and bound at the end of the year.

Keep all the artwork up for as long as you can. Before removing it, take a photo of your art wall. Keep the best as described above, throw away the rest.

An important thing to remember with these toddler painting tips is to enjoy yourself with your little one and try to include them in the clean up as far as possible without it turning into a battle of the wills!

Looking for ideas? Here are some reviews of toddler art and craft idea books!

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