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How Can Finger Painting at Your Toddler's Daycare Center Help Them Develop?

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Why does your toddler bring home so many finger paintings from daycare? Yes, finger painting is fun, but it also serves a developmental purpose. Take a look at what parents need to know about this type of hands-on art activity, toddler development, and learning in the daycare center setting.

What Types of Finger Painting Do Toddlers Try in Child Care?

Finger painting is fairly self-explanatory. As the name implies, your child will paint with their fingers. But this isn't necessarily the end of the activity or everything parents should know about this type of art exploration. 

Most finger painting activities in a child care center or preschool are process art. If you're unfamiliar with this term, process art refers to painting, drawing, sculpting, and other activities that don't have an end goal. Instead of trying to paint something specific, the early childhood educator will give the children paint, paper, and very few instructions. While teachers will guide and supervise process art, they won't direct or require the students to make one thing. Instead, the children can explore the medium and the process in ways that they feel comfortable with. 

The teacher may encourage the children to explore the art process by giving them several different colors of fingerpaint and letting them play with the material. This might mean that the toddlers smooth and smear the paint across paper, mix colors, create swirls, or move the medium in any way they want.

How Can Finger Painting Help Your Child To Develop?

Even though it may just seem like play, finger painting is actually a developmental activity that can help toddlers to build new skills. Finger painting in the toddler daycare classroom can help your child to develop:

  • Fine motor skills. These skills include movements of the fingers and hands. Fine motor abilities, such as eye-hand coordination and dexterity, help your child to feed themselves, dress themselves, write, pick up toys, or do other similar tasks. 

  • Problem-solving abilities. Math isn't the only content area that can help young child to develop problem-solving skills. Art activities such as finger painting inspire creative thinking and experimentation. 

  • New vocabulary. As your child fingerpaints, they can learn new words for colors, textures, and the artistic process.

Along with these skills, your child can develop their senses and even start to learn about the scientific process. Color mixing during finger painting activities is a basic science experiment that allows the young child to make discoveries about the world around them.