This activity is a super-simple way to let your child finger paint without dealing with the mess! Enjoy making art without the clean-up afterward.


  • plastic Ziploc bag (freezer bags work best, since the plastic is stronger)
  • paint or a similar colored substance (i.e., shampoo, hair gel, shaving cream, Jell-o, jelly, soap, etc.)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • sheet of white paper (one per work space)
  • tape


  1. Open your plastic bag and add paint or a similar colored substance. You can add food coloring to any nonpaint substance if you like.

  2. Place a sheet of white paper underneath the bag (on a table) to allow for greater contrast.

  3. Tape the bag (with the white paper underneath) to the table or surface you'll be working on. Having the bag stabilized makes it easier to control the paint, so that two children can play together, or one child can explore in greater depth.

NOTE: Bags can also be covered in packing tape to make them even stronger.

Enjoy finger painting with none of the mess!

MaryAnne blogs at Mama Smiles about finding joy in everyday parenting as she explores creativity, learning, and play with her four children. As a survivor of pediatric cancer (30 years in May 2012!), she cherishes each and every day of life. MaryAnne has degrees in Medicine, Education, and Music, which she uses on a daily basis (albeit in somewhat unconventional ways) as a stay-at-home mother.

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