Finger Painting Fun with Sensory Sand Finger Paint (+ a Giveaway!)

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Sensory Sand Finger Paint for Toddlers

Finger painting is always fun!* Kids have permission to cover their hands with paint and slip, slide their fingers through gooey color. Finger paint is the epitome of sensory art and, for young children especially, sensory art is important for development and even helps them learn.

We recently tried a newly-developed kind of finger paint from Discount School Supply called Sensory Sand Finger Paint. It added a whole new layer of sensory fun to the activity!

***Note: Readers will have a chance to win a set of six Sensory Sand Finger Paints at the end of this post.***

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Discount School Supply, one of my lovely blog sponsors, sent us a set of the paints to try out and review along with some finger paint paper and a big ole plastic finger paint tray.

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The finger paints feel as slippery and finger paint-y as any finger paints, but they are also slightly gritty. It sounds like a funny combination, but the kids liked it, and it worked really well. The sand element is very fine—not coarse at all—but you can definitely feel it.

Here's what we did with our sensory sand finger paint ::

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Squish, squeeze it…

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Swirl and rub it around…

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Draw and write in it with a finger…

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Mix colors…

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Make monoprints…

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Drum, drum, drum with it…

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Play back and forth with it…

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And draw in it with all ten fingers at once…

We started out using the finger paint paper in the tray, but about half way through the kids switched to painting directly on the tray.

It was the perfect finger painting situation! The paper was okay, but it kind of got in the way of a full-on sensory finger painting extravaganza. It bunched up a little and you had to be a bit more careful.

Painting directly on the tray was freeing.

I generally like to keep things basic and don't usually go in for "extras," but boy, I have to say I like that finger paint tray.

We've painted directly on the tabletop plenty of times, but it felt different with this tray. It's extra smooth for one thing. It's plenty big enough, but the space is defined. And I really liked knowing that I could take it outside and spray it down with a hose when the kids were finished painting. (If it were winter or I lived in an apartment, I'd probably wash it in the shower or maybe the sink.)

Unfortunately it arrived cracked along two of the lips, but the one time I had something similar happen with a Discount School Supply product a few years ago, they apologized and replaced it immediately. (I didn't ask for a replacement this time since they sent it to me for free.)

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It is nice to have a painting on paper to display, though. Here's one of the dried paintings. You can make prints from the paint in the tray (and we did lots of that!) but they have a very different look than the the finger painting that was done directly on paper.

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Here's a close up of one of the dried paintings so you can see (barely) the grain of the sand from the sensory sand paints.

*Note: There are some children who don't like the sensory stimulation of finger painting (or other messy art projects). It is more commonly a phase that a child goes through but it can also be a more ongoing preference. (And, occasionally, it can be the result of a sensory processing disorder.) If the child doesn't want to touch the finger paint, you can let him paint with a tool (a brush or chopstick, for example) or put some paint in a plastic bag and let him squish it around with his hands. Next time, he may be ready use his hands.

If you enjoyed this post, please share your thoughts in the comments, share the post with your friends, or subscribe to receive blog updates through e-mail or your reader. Thank you!

Note: I am a Discount School Supply affiliate and the links in this post are affiliate links. I only use affiliate links for products we use and love. If you follow a link and place a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the sales price from Discount School Supply and will send you virtual hugs.


Sensory Sand Finger Paint Giveaway

Sensory Sand Finger Paint for Toddlers 02Readers who leave a comment to this post by 11:49pm EST Saturday, July 28th, will be entered to win a a set of six Colorations brand Sensory Sand Finger Paints. Winner will be chosen by random number generator and posted here on the morning of Sunday, July 29th. Giveaway open to readers in the contiguous United States only.

Good luck!

Giveaway now closed.

The random number generator gave me #84, so andiejaye wins the set of six Sensory Sand Finger Paints. Congrats! (I will e-mail you…)

andiejaye said…

we've never tried this type of paint before, but it looks like so much fun!

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  1. Belinda says

    This looks so much fun for the children, love your pictures! The children will love to do this, thank you for your amazing blog.

  2. [email protected] says

    That looks great I do that with some adult paints as well by adding different types of sand to create texture in my paintings. My kids would be able to experiment with texture in paint too!

  3. Samantha says

    Wow, would have never thought to let my little man paint on a tray instead of paper. My son would love this idea! He’s also a huge fan of our different sensory play that we do at home, so combining sensory play AND painting? Oh he will be in two year old heaven!! Good luck everyone :)

  4. Jana N. says

    Oh, this looks like so much fun for my 8 yr old daughter, as well as the residents of the nursing home I do Activities for!!!

  5. says

    What a fun post!! I’m a long-time fan of DSS (thanks to you, I’m sure!) and we’ve never tried these paints. I’m also a fan of simplicity, but the finger paint tray look sooooo useful.

  6. Beth Graham says

    Looks Like so much fun – I would love to give this as a gift to my daughters daycare!! Hope we Win!! :)

  7. Michele says

    These look like fun. I really enjoy your posts, how you walk through the different experiments your kids had with every medium. it’s fun to read.

  8. Jill Schuman says

    This looks amazing!!! I think the mixture is a brilliant idea! My two kiddos would love to make beautiful creations with this fingerpaint! Thanks so much for sharing all the wonderful ideas!

  9. Karla Dao says

    Wow, what a great idea. Having 4 yr old twins and a 3 yr old we do arts and crafts everyday and to be honest it’s a lot of paper that the kids want to see on display. This idea of the tray just for them to have fun practicing their letters ect and to add the sand, WOW never thought about that! What a great idea:). Just nice that you can let them go wild with just the tray or place paper in the tray if you choose. Contains the mess, which of course is a plus for me with so many young kids. Thanks for sharing!!

  10. Karah says

    This looks like so much fun! My older two (7 & 5) love to fingerpaint but my youngest who is 16 months hates it. We keep trying though and he is slowly getting used to the idea. He is more of a clean artist lol.

  11. Kate says

    These sensory finger paints will be great to use with my son, who has sensory processing disorder. He has come a long way with finger paints already. These will add a new dimension to a fun activity!

  12. Elizabeth London Hilton says

    Such a good Idea! Looks like so much Fun! My Children would have a blast with these.

  13. [email protected] says

    Love the idea of the tray. My boy will definitely enjoy this activity.

  14. says

    I LOVE finger paint. I work in non-profit organization with families & I am know as the messy art creator and would love to finger paint with the wee ones that come to our center.

  15. Peggy says

    So fun!! The kids would love this..easy enough to do with 2 since it looks like it would keep them busy for a while!

  16. Eleasha says

    thank you for including the bit about how some kids don’t like finger paint. We tried finger paint a year ago, my older son hated the icky feel (he’s like that) and my younger son, who is very kinestetic, kept licking his hands, FYI: finger paint tastes awful!!! I could not get them cleaned up fast enough. now that the little one is older, I would love to try this. Maybe i will add some sand to the paint I still have and see how it goes. I love the idea of the tray. Im going to spray paint an old cookie sheet glossy white and try that.

  17. says

    It sometimes takes my toddler a while to warm up to new sensory experiences, but I’d love to try these out with her! The colors look vibrant, too!

  18. [email protected] says

    This would be a great addition to our basic finger paints! The kids would love the gritty texture! :)

  19. Danielle says

    My daughter (2) is obsessed with both sand AND painting — what a perfect combination!

  20. Amber says

    I really like the idea of this. And, I might have to order the tray RIGHT NOW! What a great solution. We do most of our painting on the porch right now and the hose off option is ideal. Thanks!

  21. Cindy says

    I love it, my special Ed. Students will love it! I’m always looking for new activities/fine motor skills to have them do.

  22. says

    We’d really love to try this paint out. We’ve got a whole house of fingerpainting enthusiasts, and this would be a great extension of our ordinary finger paint.

  23. says

    My kids would love that tray (oh, and the paint too). They love mixing paint and smearing it around — it almost never stays on the paper, usually ending up all over their arms and the table. (ps. Did the ice and paint thing today. Food coloring worked great.)

  24. Kate says

    I’m already starting to think about after school art activities once school resumes in late August. Finger paint would be a perfect start to our stash of projects while unwinding from a long day… THANKS for all the recent giveaways!!!

  25. amy says

    What a fun giveaway! I think my boys would love this fingerpaint, as they love painting, playing with/in sand, and getting as messy as possible! Thanks for the chance to win!

  26. Spring says

    Those look like so much fun! Would love to win them for my daughter! :) Thank you for the giveaway! :)

  27. Christy says

    This looks like so much fun!! I’m going to have to get some, even if I don’t win :)

  28. Sarah says

    I would love to win some of this cool finger paint!! Thanks for offering such a generous give away!!

  29. Amy Fields says

    This looks like sooo much fun!! I would love to win this and do it with my son!!!

  30. says

    How amazing is that, two things kids LOVE: finger-paint and sand, combined into something totally new. What a sensory experience!! My preschoolers would LOVE that!! Ms. Barbara, For the Children

  31. kara says

    always looking for new art stuff that my boys will like…this looks like a winner.

  32. Heather says

    We like finger painting around here, but it’s been a while since we’ve done it. We usually use shaving cream because it’s so creamy-feeling, but I think my kids would really like the sensation of sand in their paint as well. Thanks for the generous offer… fingers crossed. And now to go fingerpaint with my girls…

  33. Ruthanne Chapman says

    I am a kindergarten teacher and I love the idea of the fingerpaint with the added sensory stimulation of the sand! And the tray would be wonderful to keep the mess at bay!!!

  34. ania says

    Looks like fun! I wonder if I could do home version of the Sensory Sand Finger Paint?

  35. says

    This looks like fun and we’d love to try it. Also wondering if at some point you can post about how you keep your kids from fingerpainting the walls … we’ve been having issues with it recently, and especially when we have friends over so it’s 3 or more kids.

  36. Nicole says

    This is cool! I am so going to do this with my twin girls! I am sure I will use this in school as well for a lesson plan!

  37. Elisa says

    This my first time visiting your blog. Definitely gonna sign up for the emails. Would love to win this cool stuff!

  38. Terra says

    Thank you so much for sharing these paints with us, I hadn’t heard about them yet… and I think that tray is a must for my house!

  39. Milena says

    Finger paint is always fun. And indeed the tray thing seems like a great idea (even if only to contain – just a little – the mess of super-messy-with-paint kids like mine… :)

  40. Maggie says

    Fun! I love their paint tray–looks like it helps the paint (try) to stay in one place

  41. Agnes says

    This is wonderful, Jean! My kids, particularly my 3 yo daughter, loves finger painting. I know she would enjoy this sensory art experience. Thank you, also, for acknowledging that this may not appeal to all kids (my older son has sensory processing disorder).

  42. jessamyn says

    That looks like some really fun finger paint! We tried making our own, it was not so smooth and colorful. It would be fun to have that vibrant set!

  43. Kori says

    Just found your blog and I foresee many hours of fun in store for my kiddos!! They would love this paint.

  44. kathy g in nc says

    This is totally amazing (*.*) We normally add things to our paints-much to our dismay at times
    other times glee. We would LOVE LOVE to have our fingers,hands maybe toes? on this

  45. Emily Fadgen says

    Ohhh, I am just as jazzed about the finerpaint tray as I am about the sensory fingerpaints! I like it offers a “framework for freedom”.

  46. Jennifer says

    The colors look so vibrant – we’ve been using homemade recipes, but it would be fun to have some ready-to-go-paint, particularly with a different feel.
    I remember that kind of tray from when I did fingerpainting at summer school as a 3 year old – thanks for the lead!

  47. Jenny says

    we have been into painting a lot this week…they would love taking it up a notch with texture!

  48. FSPDT says

    oh, wow it is so cool to see they make this. Its crazy bc I had no idea this was a product out there. The crazy part is that my son 3 yr told me the other day when we had our finger paints outside that he wanted to paint sand,lol. So he didnt want to put the sand in the paint so we played a little different but he got to paint his sand:-) I have used disc school supp. before to order supplies will have to go back and check them out. thanks so much for sharing- Jaime @FSPDT

  49. says

    Love, love, love it. Can’t wait to try it. Also gives me knew ideas for other additives to finger paint! What else can we put in there?

  50. Milo D says

    This would give such a change up to the children than the normal finger paints. I think that this would be a very fun tactile experience.

  51. Anelizabeth Marlowe says

    We love finger painting! We use some very inexpensive trays I found for $1.50 each at the dollar store. The children can select and squeeze their own colors, mix however they want – add other textures if desired (playground sand from Discount School Supply is awesome)and make prints. They even share well…..

  52. says

    Thank you for telling us about this paint! I am very interested in new sensory experiences, especially with color. I can’t wait to try this paint with my preschoolers!

  53. says

    Wow that looks gorgeous! I haven’t seen that over here in the UK, but I’m off to mix up some of our own. we will definately be looking out for a big tray like that! Thanks! :)

  54. Catherine Chapman says

    That looks awesome! I was just telling a local toy store about this type of paint because they want to expand their special needs section. =)

  55. says

    This looks like so much fun! I like the tray too as it would keep some of those extra puddles contained. I want to try it myself after seeing the photos! Well I would let my daughters use it mostly. ;)

  56. [email protected] says

    My daughter who is turning 2 years old on Monday would love these! She loves to color & paint. These would of been perfect when I was teaching preschool, I always had aleast one painting activity a week and I only used Discount School Supply paint because they have the best paint. I would love to paint along with my daughter with these :)

  57. Kathleen says

    What a good idea — I haven’t pulled out the finger paints in ages. Thanks for the reminder and the chance to win!

  58. Vivien Lee says

    I love all you art ideas!!! We do finger paintings in our center everyday. I used to do a lot with infant/toddler and I think I should start doing more messy art with older ones, too!

  59. says

    My son LOVES to paint! He would enjoy these very much!!! He likes to take dinosaurs and action heroes and dip their feet in paint as a paint stamp :) These paints sound great!

  60. Cassandra says

    OH! My lil guy would LOVE to be able to play and share with his friends this finger paint!

  61. Jodie says

    I love all stuff discount school supply! I have two of those trays in my classroom and they are awesome for all things art. I have also had the same experience with them replacing things messed up from shipping. I ordered an easel for my classroom and it came with a big chunk missing from the dry erase side. I called and they sent me an entirely new easel! I used their finger paint to make sensory paint with salt and this would be awesome…I wish I had known about this when I put my order in for this school year :)

  62. Jeanette says

    I would love for my boys to have a set of paints like these. This would be perfect for them to experiment with different textures! My middle child loves art and would have such a fun time with these. I am just thinking of all the things we could do with these paints. Personally, I have a passion for educational activities, products and art (I went to art school and film school) and I’m always looking for new activities and products to try with my boys. Thanks for sharing and for the give away. I’ll be sure to share your page with my friends!

  63. [email protected] says

    These look so fun! My kids would have a blast with them!

  64. Whitney says

    That tray is such a smart idea! The sand paint is very clever. I’m sure the kids would get a kick out of that.

  65. Brandy H says

    What a great idea to put the sand into the paint – I know my four children have each had little phases of sensory likes & dislikes. I would think this would feel amazing – exfoliating!! And the tray… brilliant!! When my 4 sit down to paint, I quickly run out of places to hang and place pictures to dry. I have lengths twine pinned all around the room to clip pictures up on but eventually have to kill the painting time when there walls, counters and tables are all covered with drying art work!! And honestly, they don’t care too much about all the pictures once they dry – we select a few to keep and a few to share with family & friends. The rest goes into recycling :( The tray would give them more time to just enjoy the experience!!

  66. [email protected] says

    Love fingerprinting and so do the kids in my class.
    Always great ideas and new products can be found on your site. Love it.

  67. Monique says

    I think this is a great sensory activity for children with Autism. Can’t wait to try.

  68. Rachel Waxman says

    DSS does it again – a simple addition to paint, adding texture via sand, provides such sensory stimulation for the little ones! If I don’t win the giveaway, I’m definitely putting some on my order form for the school year!

  69. [email protected] says


  70. Gina says

    The tray looks like great fun. I’ll have to keep an eye out for big trays… Although I cover my dining room table with vinyl and if I’m feeling brave that might work, too :)

  71. says

    What a fun giveaway and a great sensory experience!
    Now if they could just figure out how to make the colors stay colorful instead of ending in a brown goo :)

  72. jessie c says

    I work with some special needs children that would love these. I think I will by a set for the school year

  73. Jenny says

    I’ve never heard of this paint before and it sounds like a lot of fun! Perhaps I’ll have to join the kids in their painting this time. ;)

  74. [email protected] says

    Looks like lots of fun!

  75. meredith says

    These look like so much fun! Love the tip about using a brush or bag for kids who don’t like the sensation. We love using bags,especially the really huge ones.

  76. ann harmon says

    This is an awesome idea, I may have to get some just to see what happens with class when working with textured paint. There is so much you can do with this… using plungers and such and we see how much textures can be made with different uses.

  77. Timbra Vaughn says

    I would love to use these paint in my Early Childhood Special Education classroom and at home!

  78. Annie says

    Very cool! I like your ideas for warming a less tactile child up to the idea, too.

  79. Lyudmyla says

    I bet that my 3 y.o.will spend at least 1 hour for this activity. She loves, loves, loves everything with née texture,.

  80. mary says

    Looks great! I just got a box from DSS, but didn’t get the fingerpaints yet. We are loving liquid watercolors, btw. Thanks so much for letting us know about them!

  81. says

    My kids love finger paints and I love open ended art projects. It’s always neat to see where they take it!

  82. Judi Pawliger says

    My grandaughter has some sensory issues, and these would be perfect!! Living so far away, I can’t be there to do the painting with her, but it would be great during a visit!!

  83. says

    I have a home day care and I love these supplies. Discount school supply is not only great for the price but they have the best quality over anyone else. Even crayola and the big brands. My home day care is 100% discount school supply and I would not have it any other way. These fingerpaints were not in the catalog but I would love to try them. My kids and the kids who attend day care in my home would love it. We love playing new sensory activities. Thank you artful parent and Discount School Supply you both make my life much easier!!! (and more efficient with money)
    Gina D

  84. [email protected] says

    OMG I would love to try this with my daughter!! She loves to finger paint!

  85. Laura says

    So we got a black tray in work Could I mix powder paint in it and then the children could do finger painting? xxx