5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings

I love watching my children paint. The way they freely express themselves – there is no self-consciousness, no worrying over whether their painting is “good” or “true to life” – just the innocent and carefree joy of getting messy and making a beautiful picture. They paint from the heart, paint for the love of painting and are proud of what they create. It’s interesting to see how their paintings evolve over time and look back at all the different types of painting that they have produced.

5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings - Little Hearts, Big Love


1) The treasured footprints and handprints

The first moment my children encountered paint was that moment when I tried to capture the smallness of their hands and feet and preserve it forever. Those baby toes wriggling as the paintbrush tickled the sole of a tiny foot. The funniest expression – a mixture of surprise and wonder – as if to say “what is this strange stuff that Mummy is painting on my foot?” And then trying to quickly press their foot against the paper before they wriggled again. One tiny footprint, captured in time. It seems hard to believe that those little feet were once that small.

The first footprint - 5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings - Little Hearts, Big Love

The first captured handprint came a little later. Try as I might, I could not get those tiny little fingers to uncurl for long enough – the first few attempts ended up with paint everywhere but on the paper! We got there in the end though.

Treasured footprints and handprints - 5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings - Little Hearts, Big Love

Later on, with more willing participants, footprints and handprints were perfect for personalised gifts and cards – this year’s Christmas presents for the grandparents were handprint ceramic tiles.


2) A milestone moment – the very first painting

Those chubby little fingers gripping a paintbrush and dipping it in the pot of paint, before grabbing the end of the brush and feeling the slippery texture of the paint between their fingers. Some of the paint ended up on the paper; most of it ended up on the child! The finished result – general splodges on a piece of paper but treasured nonetheless.

The very first painting - 5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings - Little Hearts, Big Love


3) Abstract art

The stage of getting more used to painting with a brush or fingers, stamping with cookie cutters, cut-out potatoes or sponges or using anything else with interesting shapes or textures. Creating lots of colourful pictures which were declared to be “animals” or “Mummy” or whatever word happened to come into their head at the time. Sometimes if you squinted at it for ages, you might have seen some vague pictures in amongst the swirls of colour, a bit like looking for pictures in the clouds. Sometimes the paintings even ended up looking vaguely like what they were described as being although this was maybe more luck than design.

Abstract art - 5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings - Little Hearts, Big Love


4) Muddy brown splodges

Ah the joy of mixing colours into one big swirl of muddy brown and covering the entire piece of paper with it! One of those pictures where your little one holds it up, proudly announced “finished” and you smile broadly and say “oh that’s lovely, darling!” while mentally deciding that this one will end up in the recycling sooner rather than later!


5) Recognisable pictures

That proud moment when your child paints something that is recognisable for the first time. Their picture of Mummy might have a huge mouth, green hair and elephant ears sticking out of the side of her head but it’s clearly supposed to be a person at least.

5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings - Little Hearts, Big Love


I love seeing the paintings that my children create (yes, even the muddy brown splodge ones!). Whilst ultimately most of them end up in the recycling bin, or cut up to be used as backdrops for making cards (thus helping provide another outlet for my children’s creativity!), I try and keep the odd one here and there in my children’s artwork folders. Those I want to remember, but cannot keep, I photograph instead. These wonderful pieces of art with their coloured splodges of paint spread randomly across a page are precious mementoes of this time when my children are small, carefree and completely uninhibited in their creativity.


Inspired by Mum Turned Mom for The Prompt #98 – “Paint”

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19 thoughts on “5 types of baby, toddler and preschooler paintings

  1. So lovely. What a great idea to photograph the paintings to cut down on finding storage for all of them – I shall have to remember that one for when my little one is bigger. And to have their creative development captured forever. You are so right, at this age they are so carefree and expressive.

    1. Thank you Amy – taking photos does make it a lot easier to capture those wonderful pictures without having to find storage space – my eldest’s creative output is quite prolific – I’d certainly struggle to find space to store all her paintings if I tried to keep them all!

    1. It was thanks to a tip I read on how to reduce clutter – a great way of holding on to the memory but not having to find space to store it

  2. I always treasured my boys nursery pictures. There was always something made of pasta on my walls as well lol. Still have them… Lovely post.

  3. Awww, I love all these stages too. My youngest doesn’t use paint much but is forever using felt tip pens and is just starting to (possibly, almost) draw things that look like things… a teeny bit. I have to chuck so much art away but have kept a few key pieces. I love that last painting of Jessica’s – lovely use of colour and a definite image too! #theprompt

    1. Thanks Maddy – it is lovely when their drawings to start to become recognisable even if just a teeny bit! 🙂

  4. What a sweet post. My favorite part of the Picaso museum in Barcelona was that his paintings went chronologically, starting as a child. It’s nice that you e kept your child’s drawing so you can refer to his/her growth. 🙂

  5. Such a lovely post. I could never understand why my mum kept folders full of terrible poster paint creations – until I became a mum myself! 🙂 #pocolo

    1. It’s funny the things that don’t make sense until we become parents ourselves isn’t it? I understand my mum so much better now!

    1. Thank you Vicky – have to say your #minicreations linky helped encouraged a few of them! 🙂

  6. I love this post and I can see my kids various stages of creation in this list 🙂 I have boxes and boxes of art work that I need to go through and sort in to keep, photograph and recycle piles! It will take me weeks… I wish I’d been more organised to begin with 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

    1. Oh I can imagine it must take ages to go through once it’s built up a bit – thankfully our pile doesn’t usually build up too much before it gets sorted out!

  7. These are so lovely! I’m sure all us mums have pretty much the same paintings somewhere in the house, I know I certainly do!
    Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo

  8. I love the idea of re-using them as backgrounds for the cards they make. And you’re right it’s lovely to see how their artwork develops, and hopefully the brown splodgy ones become fewer and fewer. Thanks for linking up to #PoCoLo xx

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