I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published October 15th 2014
Ready, Steady, Messy
My 10-month old daughter is a ball of energy and just into everything, so I am always on the look out for different, educational and fun things for us to do. Great for her, but also good for me to keep my brain ticking over, amongst all the nappies and housework.
I always loved art as a kid, so wanted her to get into painting and creating early on. Plus she loves playing with her food, and certainly is a master at a making mess, so I figured painting would be perfect.
Of course, babies and toddlers don't take too long before they put everything in their mouths, so I needed to find some safe paints - edible ones if possible - and started to research some recipes that were quick and simple, and above all safe.
After combining and experimenting I discovered a great recipe - you only need a few items and it's simple to follow.
What You Need
What you need
Food colouring Corn flour - 1/2 cup Water - 2 cups (cold) Sugar - 3 table spoons Pots for paints - anything really, I used a cupcake tray Spoons - for individual paints
As it was the first time, I only wanted 4 small pots, so I had over half of the mixture leftover. If you want to make small quantities then you can halve this recipe - or, like me, make the full load, then freeze for next time.
What You Do
1/ Add the flour, water and sugar into a saucepan (on medium heat) and stir continuously until it thickens. Please note that this happens quite suddenly, so keep an eye on it.
Add to saucepan
A thickened paste
2/ Scoop out a small portion of the mixture into your individual pots. This will be hot so be careful.
Add 5-8 drops of food colouring, depending on the shade you want or if mixing colours. At 10 months old I am not sure she even sees colours completely, so I just stuck to the primary set.
Stir in the food colouring, ensuring to mix it all in and make a complete block of colour, with no streaks.
3/ Once your colours are complete, you have two options.
Firstly, allow five minutes to cool, then use pretty much straight away for a more thinner paint like consistency. Secondly, leave to cool and stand for a while (I made them during her morning nap), for a more play doh thicker consistency. The mixture is very malleable, so you can roll into small balls of colour which are really fun to play with.
Small balls of fun
Mine were left for about an hour, but I wanted them to be a little more paint like, so I just put them in the oven on a low heat for 5 minutes, to loosen them up a little, which worked great - just watch again as they will be hot.
4/ Then get the area ready - I used her high chair and covered the surrounding floor in bin liners to catch any dropped paint. Luckily, even in paint form, this is a jelly like consistency, so unlike normal paints and water, if dropped, they tend to remain in a blob, rather than spreading everywhere.
5/ Play and enjoy. Don't worry about the mess, that's half the fun, and let them explore and inspect this new texture and activity.
My daughter loved it and once she discovered what the strange blobs could do, she really got into it, and she created some amazing memories and in my opinion, some early masterpieces.
Of course, as predicted, she put her fingers in her mouth almost straight away, so it was peace of mind, knowing that the mixture was food based, that it really didn't matter.
Lots of fun
I gave her paper, although the first thing she did was to tip the paints onto the high chair table, and mix and spread them around. Next time I may try cutting into shape and sticking down paper to the high chair table, as I wish I could have kept her masterpiece which was on there.
Her first pictures
6/ Clean up was pretty simple - as it's food and water based, everything can go in the dishwasher and the table looked as good as new with just some wet wipes, and paper towels to dry up.
As for my daughter, I had prepared her bath just beforehand, so she could go straight in to get cleaned up. Soap and flannel got all the mess off her straight away.
I shall certainly be doing this regularly with her, but also my step daughter, who is five, would love this too. So I plan to make some more and let them get messy and create together - it will be great bonding for them.
A great cheap activity, that is fun for everyone. Enjoy.