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Why Do Young Children Love Face Painting?

23 August 2023

It’s a staple of festivals, parties and events: children having their faces painted and skipping about in excitement for the rest of the day transformed into a lion, tiger, dog, princess, robot, skeleton, or superhero. You might find yourself wondering why kids enjoy having their faces painted so much. In this blog post, we'll discuss 5 points that might help explain the appeal. 


Just like some adults choose to get tattoos, for many young children, face painting is a way to express their personality and creativity. Most young kids develop strong interests in particular animals, characters, colours or things, and having their face painted is an opportunity to show everyone these favourites. They get to make the choice about what they want to be transformed into and for the rest of the day, everyone will see what they've chosen. Thankfully, it can be easily washed off with soap and water, so there’s no regrets!

It's imaginative

Kids love dressing up and playing different roles. Whether they choose an animal, a superhero, or a character from their favourite book, face painting gives children the opportunity to be somebody else for a little while. They can roleplay and have fun. Face painting can help children tap into their imaginations and play creatively. 

It can be social

Face painting is often done together with others, whether at a party or an event. Kids can enjoy seeing their friends and siblings transformed into different creatures and comparing the designs they’ve chosen. It’s inclusive, being suitable for almost anyone over the age of two, including children with disabilities who may not be able to join in with certain other activities. It can be an ice-breaker for shy children and help them make new friends. 

It's sensory

Some children seek out sensory experiences, and they may find having their face painted is satisfying and calming. The feeling of the soft brush on their skin, the smell of the paint, and the gentle care put into the process can be soothing.

It makes them feel special

For kids, being chosen to have their faces painted is like being given a badge of honour. It's a sign that they're grown up enough to sit still for five minutes and that they're trusted not to smear paint all over the place. Face painting can help shy kids feel more confident and outgoing, as they’re playing a character. Their parents can take lots of photos of them to remember the occasion and the whole family can look back at these in the future and smile.

Whether it's because of self-expression, or simply because it feels good, there's no doubt that face painting appeals to young children. So next time you see a queue of excited kids waiting to get their faces painted, remember that there's more to it than just pretty colours - there's psychology at work too.

Photo by RDNE Stock project

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