Let toddlers finger paint inside a wading pool

Finger painting in a wading pool

Before you fill the kiddie pool with water, here’s another idea, from Isabel:

My kid likes to paint himself and any nearby surface during finger painting (he’s two). Indoor finger painting in the wading pool makes clean-up easy. I put the pool in a different room during my kid’s post-painting bath. Then I just put the pool in the tub, rinse it out and leave it in there to dry upside down.

I’m just impressed that you let your two year-old finger paint at ALL. Good for you — I regret thinking it was “too inconvenient” when my kids were little. Missed out on some priceless moments for all of us.

You could also use a kid’s wading pool as the basis for a “sensory lab” filled with dried beans, rice, fluffy stuffed animals…that would be fun for a kid way past the toddler years! My nine year old would love that!

PS. I’ll bet you’ve got a neighbor who’s dying to get rid of their old kiddie pool. Ask around or Freecycle before you buy a new one.

Related: Turn a baby bathtub into a ball pit


  1. Elizabeth says

    This sounds like a great idea. Just one question…does your child try to eat the finger paint? I’ve let my son (20 months) paint a little, but he is forever trying to eat the paint, crayons, etc. Repeated cries of “Out of the mouth” just produce a fun game(for him) of how close he can get the paint or crayon to his mouth.

  2. says

    My son’s preschool teacher filled a wading pool with different types of paper- magazines, wallpaper, index cards etc. It was one of the “centers” in class. They climbed in, got given scissors and could chop and chop and chop. Great scissors practice facility!

  3. Tracy says

    you can use many other things as paint besides commercial finger paint. Some ideas below:

    Pudding Paint
    • Instant Vanilla Pudding
    • Food Coloring
    Mix pudding according to directions. Add food coloring for desired color. Finger paint on paper plates.

    Kool-Aid Finger Paint
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 packs unsweetened Kool-Aid
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 3 cups boiling water
    • 3T. oil
    Mix wet ingredients into dry ones.

    Jello Finger Paint
    • Any kind of flavored jello
    • Boiling water
    Mix jello into boiling water until it is a goo consistency for fingerpaint. Use normal fingerpainting material or glossy paper.

    Or how about using Pureed baby food? The possibilities are endless.

  4. says

    Beautiful pic, he looks so smart and peaceful inside the pool. Nice, undisturbed place to play for kiddos…

  5. says

    Used to let my first finger-paint with chocolate pudding in the bathtub. I should do that again, now that #2 is mobile! Thanks for the reminder!

  6. says

    Elizabeth- Have you looked into the Crayola fingerpaints? My son is also in the “everything in the mouth” stage. The new washable paints are completely non-toxic. We tried them, and since I wasn’t worried about it, and I didn’t react when he put his hand to his mouth, it stopped after a few seconds. At one point, he was using his binki as a stamper (that I did end up taking to wash before he put it back in his mouth!)