Monday, January 28, 2013

Activity: Baby Safe Finger Painting

Finger painting is a great way for kiddos to learn about textures, colors and their creativity. We tried this when my daughter was just around 10 months, so every activity had to be baby-safe. With regards to an activity like painting, this meant that anything she could possible put in her mouth would not hurt her.

Here is an "edible" fingerpaint recipe that I found online and decided to try. The quotes are because it only uses ingredients that are safe to digest, but I avoided any sets of instructions that included sugar - the last thing I want to do is encourage Bugga to eat the paint. I can only imagine that retraining I will have to do down the road when she's older! So this is safe to eat, but certainly not tasty.

2 cups of cornstarch
1 cup of cold water
4.5 cups of hot water
Food coloring

Mix the cornstarch and cold water together, then add the hot water, constantly stirring the mixture. Separate mixture into smaller containers. Add food coloring as desired and mix thoroughly.

Some comments: OK, I'll admit my knowledge of cornstarch is pretty limited. So stirring this mixture was kind of fun - it acted like flour, but then all of a sudden it became this wild translucent gel-like goo. The colors came out a lot brighter then I expected once mixed. As far as using this for painting...because it is a gel-like consistency, it doesn't paint like regular paint, but it still works for this activity. It's probably also good to know that it will dry pretty thick on the paper you use, and in our case at least, the painting cracked and wasn't really something to save in Bugga's brand new art archive.

The Actual Painting Part
If older children are doing this activity, you can easily incorporate brushes, but for us, it was not question that we would be using our fingers (and feet and elbows and get the idea).

I cut open a kitchen trash bag so I could cover as much space as possible. Then I used packing tape to tape the trash bag to my floors. I don't recommend doing this over carpet - anything that somehow gets off the trash bag might be difficult to get out of carpet (but I'm sure it's possible...I just have no advice on this!).

Then I grabbed a couple pieces of paper, the paints, and my child and started experimenting! 

She was definitely hesitant at first trying to figure out what this colorful stuff was, and what she could do with it. And oh yes, a couple handfuls went into her mouth. But it was also a great teaching opportunity for me to say, "Hey, that's not food!" and teach her not to put it in her mouth and instead, put it on the paper. We had a great time!

Here's something that was somewhat important: as expected, this makes a MESS. I kept a roll of paper towels and a wet washcloth very close to this activity. I recommend either clothes that are colorful and/or old, or just a diaper-only situation. And of course, she went straight into the bathtub once we were done.

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