Painting with Infants and Toddlers
Have you ever been painting with your older children and look up to see your infant sitting in the bouncer or high chair just staring in amazement and wanting to join in? Well, don’t leave baby out of the fun! But wait a minute, you think it’s not safe… baby will get the paint in their mouths as they try to eat it. No worries!! There are many ways to make safe paint with the food we eat for painting with infants and toddlers! Now, baby can join in and make it even more fun… for everyone!
A child learns best when they experience something with multiple senses. Using the different recipes for edible paint (below) will provide opportunities for your child to experience different smells and textures. Painting, with these recipes, allows your child to see, smell, taste, and touch the paint, thereby stimulating four of the five senses. This process creates an imprint in their memories… the color yellow may smell like a lemon; the color red may taste like a strawberry. The texture of applesauce paint will feel completely different than the texture of the yogurt paint.
Sensory painting is much more than just the type of paint you choose. What about the tools you use to apply the paint? Of course, there are paintbrushes that range in size, shape, thickness, length, coarse hair, fine hair, straight-edged, slanted edged, sponge, wooden handle, plastic handle, metal handle, and roller. There are rollers with pre-cut designs, rollers you can design yourself, and a whole array of options. But, what about painting with a feather, a cooked spaghetti, a comb, brush, toothbrush, ball, marble, ear of corn, bubble wrap, fingers, belly, elbows, feet, toes, nose… oh, so many things can be dipped or covered in paint and used as the application tool. Experiment and have fun!!
So, we know there are different colors and textures of paint, there are lots of different tools to apply the paint that provide varying degrees of texture… what about the canvas? What will you use to allow your child to create his/her masterpiece? Paper is the oldest fallback ever… try something new! A marshmallow, tree branch, a cardboard box, a Christmas ornament, a card, a piece of wood, or an art canvas. There are so many things your child could paint! Think outside the box. Using the chocolate paint on a marshmallow would also make a tasty treat… but, not too many! Nothing is worse than an artist with a tummy ache.
Safe and Edible Paint Recipes for Infants and Toddlers
Recipe 1: Yogurt Paint
- Ingredients: 1 tub of vanilla yogurt, food coloring
- Instructions: Spoon the yogurt into a few cups (as many colors as you want). Place a drop or two of food coloring in each cup. Mix thoroughly.
Recipe 2: Cool Whip Paint
- Ingredients: 1 tub of cool whip, food coloring
- Instructions: Spoon the cool whip into a few cups (as many colors as you want), add a drop or two of food coloring, mix thoroughly.
Recipe 3: Sugar and Cornstarch Paint
- Ingredients: 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 2 cups of cold water, food coloring
- Instructions: Stir 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch together. Add 2 cups of cold water and heat over medium heat until the mixture is thick (the mixture will further thicken as it cools). Divide into containers (as many colors as you want) and add food coloring as desired.
Recipe 4: Chocolate Paint
- Ingredients: 1 Chocolate Hershey bar, 1/2 tsp water
- Instructions: Melt the candy bar in the microwave, stir briskly, add ½ tsp of water to keep the chocolate from hardening.
Recipe 5: Pudding Paint
- Ingredients: 1 small box instant vanilla pudding, 1 cup milk, food coloring
- Instructions: Mix pudding and milk, stir thoroughly, spoon into containers (as many colors as you want), add 4-5 drops of food coloring in each container, stir until color is mixed. Note: Due to the original color of the pudding, colors will be slightly off, but still brilliant.
Recipe 6: Applesauce Paint
- Ingredients: 1 jar of applesauce, food coloring
- Instructions: Spoon applesauce into containers (as many colors as you want), add 4-5 drops of food coloring in each container, stir until color is mixed.
Recipe 7: Yogurt and Kool-aid Paint
- Ingredients: 1 tub of plain yogurt, packets of Kool-aid (as many colors as you want to make)
- Instructions: Spoon yogurt into containers (as many colors as you want), add Kool-aid from the packet until you reach the desired color, mix thoroughly.
Recipe 8: Condensed Milk Paint
- Ingredients: 1 can condensed milk, food coloring
- Instructions: Spoon condensed milk into containers (as many colors as you want), add 3-4 drops of food coloring, mix thoroughly.
Recipe 9: Starburst Paint
- Ingredients: 1 big bag of Starburst candy, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup cornstarch
- Instructions: Sort the candies into colors, unwrap about 10 pieces of each color, one color at a time – place starbursts in a pan with 1 cup of water and melt on the stove, as the candy begins to melt good, add ½ cup cornstarch, stir thoroughly until mixture is smooth and slightly thick (will thicken more as it cools). Spoon into containers (as many colors as you want).
Recipe 10: Baby Food Paint
- Ingredients: Jars of baby food (as many colors as you want)
- Instructions: Spoon the baby food into different containers (we don’t want the infants to think they can smear baby food on everything because its paint).
The more options you choose, the more opportunities for learning you provide your child. Think creatively and, by all means, join in on the fun. Don’t let the mess send you running… think of how much fun and everything your child is learning. Yes, they may be covered in paint head to toe, but it all washes down the drain with the bath water. You can make clean up of the artist’s surface area easy breezy by covering it with a cheap plastic tablecloth or trash bag and simply wading it all up and tossing it in the can as you escort your little one to the bath.
Children grow so quickly and our time with them during this stage is very fleeting. Capture the moments spent painting and learning and hold them close in your heart. Those memories will carry you for years through all the growing pains that we all incur as we mature.
Author: Belinda Davis ©2018