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Parents doing Parent things

A Parent Power Revolution Has Begun

Google “fingerpaint” and the first thing that comes up will be shopping items.

Fingerpaint sale items…like this 6-pack that’s just $20!

The truth is you can make finger paint at home for a few bucks and no hassle-at all.

It’s certainly a “greener” solution if you consider the carbon footprint of going to the store or shipping “to my doorstep.”  And let’s just be honest, not every one is a graceful-making-it-to-the-store type parent. The loading and unloading, car seats, bags, sippy cups and all…aren’t that much fun—at least not for this humble servant anyways.  

There are tons of finger paint recipes online. You can make at least one of them, right now if you are home…really. The easiest one to me is vanilla pudding and food coloring.  My son never eats vanilla pudding but let me find it on sale or get a coupon and I make sure I stock up. Yes, pudding is my friend. So its food coloring. This site will revisit this love affair many times I’m sure.

But this post is about more than that.  It’s not about buying or making finger paint.

It’s about…what ever happend to finger paint…period.

In theory, every mom knows about finger painting. I polled 6 moms today, not one used finger painting on a regular basis or really knew of other mothers that did.  Do we really think teaching babies their colors with flashcards or a dvd is a better alternative than finger painting?

Messy play. This is how children learn…actually, let me correct that statement…guided messy play.

I say guided because, we often think babies  or children magically know what to do or how to play with things. That’s what the edutainment “dvds can teach your child” has done to us. Insert disc, sit baby, walk away…um…I got news for you…that doesn’t work.

The truth is, babies need us. They need to play with us. Finger paint + mom or dad, pointing to colors, asking questions, and praising baby makes for all kinds of connections in the brain that will in due time, help baby how to read, think, analyze, among other things. In due time, yes…because babies don’ t need to read. But that’s another post…I digress.

Finger paint, yes. It’s a little messy, sure.

I have two solutions for that 1. a high chair, this is where 90% of all messy play happens in my household. 2. bathtub, there are not just for bathing ya’ know! You can always lay out paper, paint, sponges, and a fully dressed baby or child right inside a bathtub. Sit next to your child and go at it.  When your done, pack up your paint and paper, and next time you take a shower or bath, viola, turn the water on and give it a quick rinse.

There are many other strategies that work for the more patient parent of course.

Kids need to paint. They need to play. They need multi-sensory experiences. Not just because its a fun activity either…its really what they NEED to learn. They need tactile activities to learn. Period.

And it doesn’t take $20, extraordinary skill, or patience on your part. It doesn’t take a kit. It doesn’t take anything that they’ve told you.  But, it does need to happen.


If your kids aren’t finger painting with you, odds are they aren’t finger painting with anyone else, not day care providers and surely, you don’t think our overcrowded pre-k and kindergartens are finger painting any more.

The world has changed in the last 30 years.  So has the “education” industry and what toys, schools, and our households look like.  But that’s grown up stuff.  The way babies learn today, is the same way they learned 200 years ago.  Do you think the brain knows that its 2010?  That because you have Blu Ray and an iphone a baby’s brain has adapted the way it learns and forms brain connections? Brain wiring…there’s an app for that?  Ha!

Dont’ believe the hype!

There’s no app for that.  There however tons of recipes for finger paint you can whisk up under $5 and under 5 mins. Now, get off the computer and put that baby in the tub!

Have fun!


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