Parenting

Little girl blowing on wet fingernails
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15 Really Cute Nail Designs For Kids

Options for the patient kids and for the wiggly ones.

Some kids love to express themselves and show off their style any chance they can get, whether it’s through their clothes or accessories. Nail art is another great way for them to show some personality, and there are so many cute nail designs for kids that you can re-create or use as inspiration for something a little different. There are plenty of kid-manicure ideas, whether they are able to sit for a detailed design or they only have enough patience for one coat of a solid color before they want to run around again.

Is Nail Polish Safe For Kids?

There are some kids who are well into elementary school (or beyond) before they have any interest in painting their nails, then there are some who aren’t old enough to even form a complete sentence yet, but still manage to ask you to paint their nails. No matter when they start to show interest, though, caregivers often wonder whether or not nail polish is safe for kids and, if so, what is the right age to let them start painting their nails.

In an email to Romper, dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, explains that there’s no magic age for painting kids’ nails. “It is personal preference,” she says, “[and] people often prefer to wait until a child is old enough to avoid putting their hands in their mouth.” This is because when kids are putting their fingers in their mouths if there is polish on their nails they’re potentially ingesting the chemicals and ingredients found in a lot of nail polishes.

The tricky part is that even if your kid isn’t sucking their thumb anymore, they may still be putting their hands in their mouth in other ways, even if it’s just while they’re eating. Because of this, Dr. Garshick suggests that when caregivers do decide to paint their kids’ nails that they are mindful about which products they use. “It is best to find products that are water-based and free of certain chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, camphor, and DiButyl Phthalate (DBP),” she says. Some of her favorite polishes include Piggy Paint, Ella + Mia, and Suncoat Girl.

If you’re all stocked with a few shades of non-toxic nail polish, then put it to work by recreating some of these cute nail designs for kids.

1

Classic Rainbow Nails

Johner Images, Getty Images

This is my go-to with my very wiggly five-year-old. There’s nothing over the top about this cute nail design, but the various colors give it a little more life than just a single shade. Plus, who doesn’t love rainbow nails?

2

Confetti Look

Kirezhenkova Marina / EyeEm, Getty Images

Another really cute nail design for kids that is quick and easy is a sparkly or confetti-looking design. There are all kinds of different glitter polishes, some with big chunks of glitter, others with fine specks, and some with a mix of both, that can create something like this.

3

Watermelons

Foap AB, Getty Images

It’s pretty easy to turn fingernails into watermelons. You’ll need pink (two shades if you want to stick to this design), green, and black polish and a toothpick to help you draw those seed lines on.

4

Abstract Designs

Foap AB, Getty Images

This is a design for kids who are able to sit still, and it’s one that can be done with all kinds of color combinations and designs. Since it’s abstract, there’s no right or wrong way to create the different shapes, so it’s all about what works for you.

5

Metallics & Hearts

Kryssia Campos, Getty Images

This nail design is a lot of fun because each finger has its own design, but they’re all made with the same polishes in different ways. The hardest part of this design will likely be the heart, so if you’re new to this, practice the shape on a piece of paper a few times before you move to your kid’s nails.

6

Glitter & Solid Mix

mikroman6, Getty Images

Using the same color polish in solid and glitter style allows for some really cool nail art. You can mix it up in so many different ways, like in this photo where only the tip of the pointer fingers are painted with the glitter polish, and the other fingers are covered completely.

7

Shades Of Blue & Green

Kseniya Ovchinnikova, Getty Images

For kids who love greens and blues, this nail design is perfect. It uses three different polishes and doesn’t have a clear pattern to it, but it works really well together and is sure to stand out (in the best possible way).

8

Ombre Colors

mikroman6, Getty Images

Real talk, as cool as this nail design is, it’s also one that may take some time to master. That being said, kids will especially love it because it can be done with a few shades of any color from blacks and greys to yellows and oranges.

9

Marble Design

Foap AB, Getty Images

This manicure has three solid colored nails, a pink, a purple, and a teal, and then uses those three colors to create a marble effect on the other two nails. It all works together so well and is a design that’s easy to do (mostly because no one will know if you messed up).

10

Cheetah Print

Khyra Gem Lopez / EyeEm, Getty Images

Add a little sass to your kid’s nails with a colorful cheetah print like this. You’ll do a solid color base, then you’ll pick another color to make a few spots on each nail which you’ll then surround with a few black spots to create this pattern. It’s really simple to do, but it may be tough on younger kids with smaller nails.

11

Strawberries

Foap AB, Getty Images

How cute are these nails? It’s such a simple design, too. You’ll just need a red base, then add a little green and some yellow dots to one (or all) of the nails and you have yourself a very cute little strawberry.

12

Bright Stripe Accents

by R.Duran (rduranmerino@gmail.com), Getty Images

The bright, neon colors in this manicure are already a lot of fun on their own, but what makes this nail design stand out is the striped accent nail on each hand. They both use colors that are used on other nails to create a uniform look but mix them up in a different way. The design would look great with that alone, but if you want to recreate this specific look, you can also add a black nail sticker to each one.

13

Fluffy Clouds

Foap AB, Getty Images

Another design that is super simple to do, and has such a cool final look. Just paint the nails a base blue color, then add in some fluffy white clouds on top. If you want to go a bit further, add in sunshine or some raindrops coming from the clouds for extra design.

14

Emoji Faces

Foap AB, Getty Images

This nail design may seem really easy, but you’ll need a steady hand to create the clean lines needed for each face. If you’re up for the challenge, though, it’s a design a lot of kids would love to rock.

15

Gradient Rainbow

Foap AB, Getty Images

You’re definitely going to need a little technique to create this look, but with a good tutorial (like this one), you’ll be a pro in no time. Have your kid pick out three colors they like, and then blow their mind with this very cool manicure.

Expert:

Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, Clinical Assistant Professor at Cornell