Lots of parents groan when they get a gift and it ends up turning out to be finger paints. Kids love these brightly colored paints, but for many of those who look after young ones day in and day out, these are not the greatest items to have around the house. The texture and viscosity of finger paints allows them to generate an enormous mess in a short amount of time.
However, there’s a unique way to use finger paints that allows your kid to have a good time while minimizing the time needed for cleaning up later. Basically, all this project requires is fingerpaint and a large gallon plastic bag to contain the paint. You can let your kids use their fingers to make interesting patterns by mixing the paints around without touching them directly and making a cleanup disaster!
The Front Door Method
To get started, put some fingerpaint into your plastic bag. You can squirt or scoop in a few different colors to different sections of the bag. Then flatten the air out and close the bag. Now we’re in business!
One popular way to do this project is to attach the plastic bag to the front door with the zipper or other opening facing up. Use tape to anchor it in place at the right height for your child. The bottom of the bag will contain any paint that succumbs to gravity. There’s another interesting element of this, which is that on a sunny day, the light shining directly in through a screen door or glass door can illuminate the paint colors in neat ways.
Parents who are trying to train their kids to stay indoors, or those who don’t have the right kinds of latches or security on a front screen door, will probably want to do this differently. It’s your choice whether to do this on a door or window – either way, your child has some great scenery to look out on!
It’s just as easy to set the plastic bag on a horizontal space like a tabletop and have your young Michelangelo (or O’Keefe) work there. You can also set them up on a picnic table or in your garden. Personally, I preferred the indoors as I was paranoid of the skunks that frequent our backyard during the early evening. That is until I made my husband get me a skunk trap.
There’s not a lot of cleanup for this activity, and one of the benefits of using this method is that your youngster’s masterpieces can be used over and over. In most cases, pools of color will remain somewhat distinct from each other and can still look good over multiple painting sessions. Once the paint becomes a muddied brown mess, simply switch to a new bag or wash it out.
These kinds of simple crafts projects can keep kids happy without spreading paint all over walls, carpets, or other surfaces. For busy parents, having “contained play” with finger paints can also save a lot of time in switching between various activities to accommodate the short attention spans of toddlers.