Sensory Activity for Kids: Painting With Your Fingers and Hands

Having a son with autism made me acutely aware of the benefits of sensory activities for all children but especially those on the spectrum. My son's preschool teacher always had a sensory table going at his co-op where the kids could squeeze, twist, and roll play-dough, explore in sand or water, make shapes, letters, and numbers in chocolate pudding, and drive Matchbox cars through shaving cream. Like many other kids with autism, my son had a sensory processing disorder and was hypersensitive to touch. He avoided all messy play at preschool even though it would have benefitted him greatly. That's why I kept my eye on the sensory table and would do the activities with him at home, slowly and gently getting him familiar with the new materials and the peculiar way they felt on his skin. 
Painting with his fingers and hands eventually became one of his favorite sensory experiences, and we did it once a week for many years. While first reacting negatively to the feel of the paint on his body, he gradually came to enjoy it. I'd put on some soft, soothing music and let him enjoy the creative process, making pieces of art to give to his grandmother, dad, and teacher and well as some to display on our refrigerator.
Whether your child is on the autistic spectrum or not, all kids need to explore and learn through their senses. It's how they first come to understand the world around them through sights, smells, sounds, touches, and tastes. When they become confident about sensory experiences, they become confident in themselves. They're bolder and more willing to take chances. Plus, sensory activities are just a lot of messy fun and can be followed up with another fabulous sensory activity -- a bubble bath!

Materials: poster paints, several old saucers or small bowls, white paper, paper towels, markers or crayons, newspapers

1. Cover the table with newspapers.
2. Put different colors of paint in the saucers. If you like, mix some to make new colors.
3. Dab your fingers in the paint and then press gently on the white paper. You want to be able to see the swirls and lines of your finger tips.
4. Then experiment with your thumbs, the side of your hand, your fist, and your palm to make a picture.
5. When you're done, let it dry completely.
6. Now you're ready to wash up or, better yet, take a bath!
7. When you're all clean, use markers or crayons to add details. Ta-dah!

Poster paints are a must-have item for your art cabinet. You'll use them for so many cool projects. They're great to have on hand for a rainy day or a play date. This kit is fabulous with its bold, bright colors.

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