Making Peace with Finger Paint

Recently we were gifted a book of children’s poems. That afternoon we snuggled up on the couch reading delightful children’s poetry together. It was an enjoyable and relaxing activity; that is until we came across a poem about finger-painting. Suddenly the boys lost all interest in reading and were desperate to finger-paint.

Now I know a lot of parents avoid finger-paint like the plague. I completely, 100% understand why. I’m not really a big fan of the stuff myself. In fact I admit I only say “yes” to finger-painting requests for purely selfish reasons; it’s something that keeps the boys quietly engaged for long periods of time. Of course the downside to buying myself a little quiet time this way is the clean up. It almost always involves me carrying the kids to the bathtub repeatedly yelling saying “don’t.touch.anything!”. You know the carry I’m talking about…where they are facing away from you and you are holding them as far from your own body as possible. This gets trickier to do the older, bigger, and heavier they get.

Anyway on this particular day I was NOT feeling the finger-painting vibe. I wanted to continue laying on the couch with our new book. That was so lovely and peaceful that I could have spent the afternoon parked right there. Unfortunately the kids were relentless with their request. I’m pretty sure that book brainwashed them to think finger-painting was the best thing in the entire universe because they simply had to finger-paint. Okay, so be it. Let’s finger-paint…but let’s do it in the bathtub.

The beauty of finger painting in the bathtub is the mess is completely contained! And the kids are ready to wash up in the tub as soon as they are done. But wait, there’s a THIIRD hidden bonus. Once the kids were done finger-painting, I handed them each a spray bottle of diluted Dr. Bronner’s Soap and a washcloth. I told them their job was to clean up the paint from the tub. They thought this was just as much fun as finger-painting. This was a winning combination of two favorite sensory activities; painting and water play.

They scrubbed our tub shiny clean…and they worked at it for a LONG time which meant I got to make a decent sized dent in the mountain of ever accumulating laundry needing to be folded. Sitting in the bathroom, folding laundry while kids cleaned the bathtub was surprisingly enjoyable for me.

Hard to believe but the tub was actually cleaner after this finger-painting episode! “Clean bath tub” had been on my mental “to-do” list for over a month. And viola, now it was sparkly clean! From now on when the bathtub is dirty and/or the kids need a bath perhaps I will suggest finger-painting? I do believe I have finally made peace with finger-paint! :)

What activity does your kid love, that you completely dread?

-Sarah

Tags: bath tub activity, dr bronner, dr. bronner's magic soap, finger paint, finger painting, sensory activity

3 Responses to “Making Peace with Finger Paint”

  1. Roberta says:

    What a fun idea :) And where do you get Dr. Bronner’s soap? I may have to copy this idea with my kiddos…enjoyed seeing you at Sprouts the other day and hope to catch up more soon!

    • Sarah says:

      You can get it from Sprouts and sometimes at Trader Joe’s. :) Although I get mine from Frontier because they have the best price.
      Great to see you too!
      -Sarah

  2. Michelle says:

    Playdoh!!! I hate it, they love it. Too bad you can’t do that in the bathtub.