Family DIY: Natural Finger Painting Recipe

Do you remember childhood days when your teacher or parent brought out big sheets of paper and started finger painting? The thought brings smiles to many grownups’ faces with memories of dipping your fingers in that cool, wet paint, gliding those wet fingers to make shapes, rainbows, stick-figure families, and learning what happens when you mix colors. You’d hold up your painted hands and giggle. It’s easy to bring these memories back and sharing them by joining your kids, joining in for a fun family finger paint activity.

We’re all busy, trying to juggle work life, school assignments, and family time at home. When kids are yelling, “Mom, mom, mom!” or “Dad, dad, dad!” the easy way out is to tell them to go play. Both kids and parents can end up frustrated. Turn frowns to smiles with an enjoyable family finger painting activity.

finger painting kid

Making Naturally Safe Finger Paint

How do you make family finger painting the best experience? Let’s start with preparing the paint. Sure, you can go to the store and buy finger paint, but what’s in it? Curious toddlers and children are known for putting everything in their mouths. Some have sensitive skin. Wouldn’t you want the most natural product for your little ones? Here’s a recipe for natural finger paint that’s as easy as it can get.

Natural Finger Paint Recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Paint Cups: ½ cup for one person; multiply for more


  • ½ cup yogurt, Greek or strained yogurt, or dairy-free strained coconut milk yogurt (plain, vanilla, light-colored)
  • Natural food coloring, purchased or homemade using fruit or vegetables

Instructions for Using Liquid Food Coloring

Simply mix a few drops of the coloring to the ½ cup yogurt until you get a good finger paint consistency. Don’t add too much liquid or the paint will become watery.

Instructions for Using Dried Powder Food Coloring

Boil 1-2 tablespoons of water and place in a small bowl. Mix 1 tablespoon of dried powder into the water and stir. Mix the liquid into the ½ cup yogurt.

Instructions for Food-based Food Coloring

  • Spinach Food Coloring/Green Finger Paint:
  • Placed ½ cup spinach, packed tightly, in a blender with ½ cup water. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth. Mix 3 tablespoons of the spinach blend into the ½ cup yogurt
  • Berry Food Coloring/Pink or Purple Finger Paint
  • Over medium-low heat, cook ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries. Stir and mash, adding small amounts of water to keep the mixture from burning if needed, until the berries become mushy and release their color. This process takes about three minutes. Strain the berries and mix the liquid into your ½ cup yogurt.
  • Beet Food Coloring/Pink Finger Paint
  • Use canned beet liquid, mixing 3 tablespoons into ½ cup yogurt.
  • Roast beets. Blend ½ cup with ¼ cup water until smooth. Strain and mix 3 tablespoons of the beet juice into the yogurt.

You can experiment with making other natural dyes. If you do, keep in mind that some food sources will permanently stain clothing and possibly other items. Do your research first.

finger painting

Planning for Family Fun

Once you have the paint made, plan the finger painting activity for stress-free fun. Here are some tips:

  • Find a suitable place to make a mess. Paint outdoors in the grass for carefree mess-making. If you must paint in the house, clear a table or use the floor, covered in old sheets, a tarp, or some large paper sheets taped together. If you have a kid’s easel from a playset available, be sure to put your floor covering underneath if you aren’t setting up in the grass.
  • Don’t forget the paint smocks! Washable play clothes will do. It works well to have a designated outfit for messy craft activities so that if your kids wipe their hands on their clothes, you won’t mind. Plan to change their clothes immediately following the activity and clean up. Have an extra set ready to go and maybe a shower or bath preceding the change.
  • Have a sink, a hose, or some buckets of water nearby so kids can clean their hands and start again or for the final clean up. Old towels come in handy, too.
  • Get your kids excited to finger paint with you. Tell them any age-appropriate rules you want them to follow, such as no paint slinging or touching anything other than the paper. You might include a promise to help clean up – well, you can always try!

Enjoy Your Time Together With Finger Painting

After you’ve prepped for finger painting, let your children play. They can paint masterpieces or abstract art. Whatever a child says a drawing represents, agree! Have some free-flowing fun yourself, sinking your fingers into the paint and smearing all over the paper. Make some handprints with your kids. Enjoy every moment of your family fun finger painting with natural, homemade paint, smiling, laughing, and making your family life a little better with each passing moment.

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