Starry Night

Toddler finger painting with different colors on white paper at home

Learning Value:

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to maintain focus and sustain attention.

Materials Needed:

  • The Starry Night” by Van Gogh
  • Paint (Optional)
  • Paintbrushes (Optional)
  • Paper (Optional)

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  1. Encourage your child to look deeply at the image of “The Starry Night.” Remember as many details as possible.
  2. Hide the image. Ask your child, “What do you remember about “The Starry Night?” Listen as your child responds. Compliment him or her for paying such close attention and remembering so many details. Add your own insights and observations.

Depending on your child’s age and interest, you could go discuss the painting more thoroughly. Talk about the areas of the painting your eye goes to first. Point out how Van Gogh used brush strokes to depict movement. How does the painting make your child feel? Notice the lights in the village compared to the lights in the sky. Which ones are bigger? Why do you think the artist made the stars and sky so big compared to the village? Gauge your discussion on your child’s response, ending before your child loses interest.

Optional: Pull out some paints and paper and make your own starry night pictures, using Van Gogh’s work as a model. Talk with older children about perspective—painting distant objects smaller and closer objects larger. Point out how the artist uses light and dark colors.

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Toddler finger painting with different colors on white paper at home