So, you say your kiddo is looking for some fine motor fun. Bring out the finger paints! Um, wait. You’re not into the mess. That’s okay. We have an awesomely artsy alternative that uses clay instead.
Finger Painting with Clay
Instead of just painting with clay, your creative artist can explore different textures and paint on different surfaces. The masterpiece is created by spreading, rather than painting getting the fine motor skill benefit with less mess!
Learning and Development Objectives
- Eye-hand coordination
- Finger and hand muscle strength
- Recognize and identify colors
- Explore color mixing
- Problem solve
- Explore through the senses
- Name different textures
Arts and Crafts Materials
- Soft modeling clay in at least three different colors
- Other papers/surfaces – these can include card stock paper, construction paper, tissue paper, craft felt, fabric scraps, corrugated cardboard, craft sticks, a plastic spoon or anything else your child can clay “paint” on
How-To Art Process Steps
- Pull the clay apart into dime-sized pieces. The clay should be soft enough so that your child isn’t struggling to peel it apart.
- Choose a surface to “finger paint” on. Start with one, and move on to a few more. Your child will explore different textures and to concentrate on adjusting finger movements.
- Finger paint! Your child will start with one piece of clay. Press it onto the surface and spread it out. It will stick to the paper/fabric underneath. Spread the clay so that it is thin and looks like paint. Ask your child how it feels.
- Repeat with a new color. Blend overlapping colors. Continue adding colors.
- Try clay painting on a new surface. Ask how painting on this surface is the same and different from the last one.
Fine Motor Extensions
Your child can simply explore the process or make specific designs. Draw the design on first before filling it in with clay.
You can also add extra textures to the clay for even more fine motor play. Spread in glitter, craft sand or coarse salt to create lumpy and bumpy clay paint.
Are you looking for more fine motor activities? Check out these playful preschool and toddler ideas.
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Erica is a mom, educator and parenting writer, with an MS in child development. When she’s not teaching, she’s busy creating kids’ activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.