Sensory Play · Tot Play

Textured Finger Paint

textured finger paint

I had to really give myself a pep-talk before doing this activity with my kids because I was having a sensory aversion moment imagining the mess that could ensue from this brilliant, crazy idea!

As I was brainstorming tactile sensory play, trying to think of new ways I could get the boys exploring different textures, I thought of finger paint, and then I thought, what if we added texture to the finger paint??

I decided it was best to go fully edible, so I looked up a recipe for homemade finger paint that wouldn’t be too hard to make (I’m such a lazy cook!). This finger paint recipe from Powerful Mothering was perfect. It’s basically just flour and water. Easy and edible.

I didn’t use the whole batch of finger paint for this activity, I just scooped out six little paper cups of the paint base and added gel food coloring to it. Then, for texture, I added chia seeds to the purple, crispy rice cereal to the orange, and rainbow sprinkles to the blue!


I spread a plastic tablecloth over the table and put the kids in their high chairs. I thought about just laying the plastic on the floor and letting the kids go for it, but I didn’t feel like I had the energy for a full body-painting experience with Henry! He still got really messy even in his high chair! I let them do this shirtless because I’m not sure whether gel food coloring will stain fabric…


Calvin was excited to finger paint, but when he saw the textured paints, he didn’t want to touch them! He poured some blue with sprinkles out onto his paper, but he really didn’t want to put his hands in it!

So I smeared it around and tried to talk him into painting. I even let him use his dinosaurs to try to make it more inviting… He stomped Trudy the triceratops around through the blue paint and made dinosaur tracks, but he kept asking to wipe his hands and complaining that Trudy was “dirty!” This is part of why we do this stuff. Calvin still has aversions to it! He has made progress, but apparently this textured paint was a little much for him!

Henry seemed surprised by the textured paint at first, but before long he was all into it.


I don’t actually have a picture of messy Henry, so you’ll have to take my word for it that he covered himself from head to toe in paint and needed a bath! I guess he liked it! And yep, he ate some of it. Not too much, but I had to draw the line when he started trying to eat the paper!

In my efforts to encourage Calvin that it was totally fine to get messy with the finger paint, and that it was also super fun and awesome, I painted a little picture of my own.


Calvin liked my painting, but was not persuaded. He was so excited when I told him it was time to wash up and take a bath!

Have you ever added textures to paint like this?

Do your kids enjoy this kind of messy art play?

Ideas for engaging kids like Calvin who are more on the sensory-averse side? Our therapists have recommended using really yummy foods like pudding and jello… maybe it’s time to try something like that again!




4 thoughts on “Textured Finger Paint

  1. I’ve used seeds, glue, flour, powdered milk, coffee, salt, sugar, oil (to name a few!) to get textured paint. Now I shall try it soon with cereal too ! I love process art! Have pinned to the Practical Mondays Board 🙂


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