How to Introduce Your Baby to Art from the Womb

Bright colored toys can stimulate a baby's brain. Image by Justyna Furmanczyk.

Bright colored toys can stimulate a baby’s brain, so start planning your decorations now! Image by Justyna Furmanczyk.

There are plenty of programs out there that promise to make your baby a genius, but it’s relatively simple to foster a love for fine art in your baby from the very beginnings.

Decorating The Nursery

The nursery is the very first place to introduce elements of fine art to your newborn. Don’t worry, there’s no need to go out and buy expensive paintings or prints for the walls. You can give your baby brain stimulation with common nursery items.

The basis for every work of art is color and contrast.You may have heard that babies are colorblind at birth and develop their ability to see color over time. This is a myth; babies can see color as soon as they are born.

In fact, bright colors that contrast stimulate a baby’s brain and helps with eye development. Black and white, red, blue and yellow are all good contrasting colors to use in a nursery. Just make sure you stay away from the traditional pastels; babies have a hard time focusing on paler shades.

For newborns, objects that come very close to their face are more important than the color of their nursery walls, since they can’t focus on objects that are more than a few inches away. So, brightly colored mobiles and swaddling blankets are a good start. A little later on, your child will be ready to enjoy a mural on the nursery wall, or brightly-colored stuffed animals.

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Baby Art: Creativity For Infants

Even young babies can create art. Image by Alina Bradford

Get out the homemade fingerpaint supplies – even young babies can create art. Image by Alina Bradford

Most parents would never dream of letting their baby experiment with art, but as soon as your baby can sit up, he’s ready to create. The key is giving your baby art supplies that are safe. Here’s how to make your own baby-friendly finger paints:

  1. Put your baby in just a diaper and then secure her in a highchair to reduce your cleanup time afterwards.
  2. In a bowl with three cups of white flour, slowly add warm water while mixing. Keep adding warm water until the flour becomes a paste.
  3. Divide the flour mixture into three plastic containers.
  4. Add a few drops of all-natural (look for vegetable-based dyes) food coloring to each container of flour mixture for different colors, and mix the food coloring into the paste.
  5. Spoon a dollop of each color of paste onto your baby’s highchair tray.

Now, sit back and watch your child scream and giggle as he pushes his homemade finger paints around on the tray to create his own masterpiece. Since the paint is made with food products, it’s okay if your tot decides to taste her art supplies.

Choosing Children’s Books With an Eye for Art

You probably already know that reading to your child helps her develop a love for books, but it can also help her build a love for art. Many children’s books are illustrated with just as much care as a painting that is displayed in a gallery. By choosing to read books with masterful illustrations, you can introduce your baby to fine art every time you have story time. Here are a few books to check out before your baby comes:

  • “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, or any book by Eric Carle
  • “The Beetle Book” written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
  • “Peek-A Who?” by Nina Laden
  • “Zen Shorts” by Jon J. Muth
  • “The Lion & the Mouse” illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
  • “Corduroy” by Don Freeman
  • “Stellaluna” by Janell Cannon
  • “Strega Nona” by Tomie dePaola
  • “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter
  • “Art & Max” by David Wiesner
  • “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister
  • “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats
  • “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf
  • “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” by Mo Willems

Babies and Art Appreciation: Get Ready Now!

Will your baby be the next Picasso? Plan on leading your baby from colorful crib toys to fingerpainting and an appreciation for art in books on her journey from birth to toddlerhood, and you’ll foster a healthy appreciation for the arts in your child.


Deanna M. Swartout-Corbeil, R. Eye and Vision Development. (2013). Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. Accessed September 26, 2013.

Janelle, C. Colorful Nurseries May Help Babies’ Development. (2007). WISTV. Accessed September 26, 2013.

Roberts, M. Babies ‘Have Favourite Colours’(2005). BBC. Accessed September 26, 2013.

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