Body painting for babies and toddlers

Support physical development with body painting

Support physical development with body painting

Body painting is a fun sensory activity to try with babies and toddlers.

You will need:

  • paint
  • masking tape or Sellotape
  • some bin liners
  • flattened cardboard boxes
  • adequate floor space

What to do

Before you get started, to minimise mess, place the bin liners flat onto the floor as a base, then lay the flattened cardboard boxes on top and tape them together to protect the floor. Put a small amount of paint onto a paper plate or a larger amount into a bowl. Babies and toddlers can then explore painting on the cardboard. Let them use their fingers, hands or feet to see what marks they can make.

Learning and development

This activity supports babies’ sensory awareness and physical development. Providing opportunities for babies to sit, pat, crawl and walk develops their mobility and increases their physical confidence and independence.

Body painting also encourages babies to use a variety of physical movements, strengthening the muscles in their hands using a palmar grasp, and the muscles in their feet by simply pushing them back and forth. This in turn will help to support them when they take their first steps.

For toddlers, body painting can help them to focus on mark making made by their own physical movement.