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Is Finger Painting Worth the Mess?`

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If you have a toddler at home, you know there are days when you would do anything to keep them busy and contained for just a few minutes. They’re into everything. You can’t get anything done. And that whining noise—well, the Grinch probably said it best when he said, “Oh, the noise, noise, noise, noise!”

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You’ve exhausted every neat, tidy sensory activity in your repertoire. None of them are working anymore. They’re old hat kinds of activities, and they won’t buy you more than a couple of minutes at a time—and you need more than that.

Ten. Fifteen. You’d love to have twenty, but recognize that as a pipe dream.

You’re staring into your art supplies cabinet, desperately hoping that something, anything, will jump out at you…and there it is.

Finger paint.

Or maybe not even finger paint. Maybe it’s just regular paint, which most toddler parents know are really just finger paints in disguise.

Is it worth it?

Your child might sit in his high chair. He might be truly contained, stuck, even, for a few minutes. Sure, you’d have to be in the room; but that would be long enough to fix the lunch that you’re really longing for, and maybe even eat it!

You take a deep breath…and go for it.

The mess is atrocious. Your child is covered from head to toe in paint. You have to wash off the high chair quickly, or it’s going to be stained forever.

But for a few minutes—a few short, precious minutes—there is peace.

Is it worth it?

Almost definitely.

It’s not an every-day activity. It’s not something you want to haul out every time you need a few minutes’ peace. And it does have to be at least partially supervised. But if you’re up against the wall and need something to quiet the whining for a little while, it’s worth it.

Just make sure you have a water hose standing by.

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