And I'll be honest, the mess was what made me hesitate at first. Will he eat the paint? Will he end up with it in his hair and all over his clothes? Our first foray into finger painting was a piece of cardstock stuck in a Ziplock bag, with some gel food coloring added in. I shut the bag, and handed the whole thing over to him. He had fun, and we had a masterpiece.
But then I realized that if I'm supervising him, there's really no way he'll eat paint, even if he wanted to. And babies? Well, they wash. So do clothes. So does hair.
In other words, I relaxed a little bit and decided that this would not be the first time John did something that had the potential to earn him a midday bath. The next time we went to the store, we picked up some washable, non-toxic finger paint, and some really neat crayon holders perfect for the palm gripping toddlers do when they color.
All set with supplies, I then looked around for something that would protect his clothes. Turns out, the answer was in Daddy's old t-shirt pile, and Mommy's bathroom drawer. An old t-shirt, with an alligator clip at the back of the shirt's neck to gather up excess material did the trick perfectly. I put John in his high chair, and added globs of paint to a piece of cardstock (which holds up better to little hands who LOVE to crumple up paper), and my little artist took off, running his fingers through the paint. He made three masterpieces that day.
It was such an easy and fun two-day project that I can see us doing more later - because who wouldn't love a card made by two tiny hands covered in paint?
Bethany Erickson is the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson and Mom to a growing boy.