Therapy and Supports

The benefits of paint for development

Team Kindship
April 12, 2022
2 minutes

The power of paint! I know what you’re thinking paint = mess. Hmm, well yes it can get messy at times (especially when you have a tornado of a 4-year-old like mine) but the way it occupies kiddos of all ages AND can so easily incorporate the development of so many skills???? So worth it, trust me. Let’s be honest, they are just going to trash the house with a toy explosion or a million food crumbs anyway…. Just have wipes or a washer on hand, you’ll be fine!

How can paint be beneficial to development?

Painting has endless benefits. My daughter has cerebral palsy and autism, and she loves to paint, I incorporate this enjoyment into our home therapy play. So many ways we can implement therapy skills in a motivating and fun way.

-It engages the senses.

-Can improve concentration and patience

-Improves vocabulary

-Works on problem solving

-Uses imagination

-Develops fine motor skills

-Expresses emotions and feelings

-Has calming effects

-Develops mobility/gross motor skills

-Works on hand/eye coordination

-Shape and pattern recognition

-Builds confidence

-Helps to convey ideas

-Develops decision making

Not sure where to start, or what skills you can work on with paint. All good, I have you covered.

Painting with craft Materials

Something so appealing about painting with items that aren’t in fact paint materials. My girls love to paint with feathers. They work great as you can use both ends and they really give a different result then what a paint brush would.

Other great tools to try with paint are pipe cleaners, paddle pop sticks, cotton buds and natural materials. What is great about using items like this is that they really engage children to use their fine motor skills, prompting them to try to use a tripod grip.


Pom poms are another great way to work on fine motor skills and coordination. We love using the large glitter pom-poms as they leave such a cool effect, sometimes we add googly eyes and turn them into ‘crazy’ creatures.

Another creative way to use pom-poms and paint is to use a peg to hold onto them. Have your child pinch the pom-pom with the peg so it also gives them an opportunity to also practice bimanual coordination.

Sensory Play

When my daughter was younger, she couldn’t stand to be messy and displayed strong reactions to anything that felt ‘different’. She couldn’t touch sand or grass, struggled with any food getting on her skin and generally struggled with things touching her. Slowly I started introducing sensory play, AKA messy play. When she was younger, I used to make my own paint from flour, water and food colouring and put it on her highchair. She used to use a thick paint brush to smother it around, I began to use my hands to mix it around and sometimes would gently grab her hand to touch and feel the paint. I found giving her opportunities to engage in a variety of messy play experiences really helped with her sensory struggles within a lot of environments. These days we use it as a calm down, relaxing activity. Touching and feeling the paint gives her that tactile input that she seeks to keep regulated and calm.

Paint drawing

A wonderful pre-writing activity is to cover some paper, mirror, window, or table with paint and then encourage children to make markings throughout it or practice writing their name. It’s a fun and motivating way to practice fine motor skills and pre-writing development. Perfect distraction for children that have no interest in writing or have a delay in fine motor skills.

Painting tools

Walk into a craft isle and you will find yourself with so much choice for painting (my idea of heaven). If you have a child that can’t sit still for one minute or finds it difficult to stay on a task and concentrate, painting with a variety of tools can be a fun and motivating way to work on this. I have not met a child that doesn’t like experimenting with different painting tools, all the cheap dollar stores have heaps of different painting supplies. You don’t need to spend up big!