World Play Day - 28 May - Activity 8

Today's blog is all about getting creative and bringing colour into our lives.  And how better to do that than, wait for it, ...PAINT.  And now I can hear all the parents out there groan collectively in horror, "Not paint, it's soooooo messy!"  But don't worry, I have a number of activities for today, and they vary in degrees of messiness, so there will definitely be something to suit everyone, I promise.

This blog has also been inspired, in part, by a conversation that I was part of the other day at my son's pre-school, where a mom was saying how wonderful the new apps on her i-pad are.  She was explaining how her son builds puzzles, colours in pictures and draws, all using the i-pad. Now don't get me wrong, I love technology and think that all these gadgets are awesome; but a part of me wonders how much fun our kids will have one day, when they no longer get their hands dirty and feel the cold squishiness of finger paints; or how pastel crayons feel completely different to wax crayons and pencil crayons; when they no longer feel the flakiness of dried paint on a canvass, or the puffiness of puff-paint, and when they can no longer feel that satisfying click of one puzzle piece locking into place with another.  It is a sad thought, and while we should encourage our children to get used to gadgets and technology, I feel strongly that we should also create as many opportunities as possible for them to explore the pure sensory joy of art and play.

Finger Painting

So, that said, how we go with a couple of paint activities. First off are two home-made paint recipes, 1 multi-purpose and 1 for babies.


Paint Jars

What you need:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • food coloring

What to do:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. 
  • Dissolve cornstarch in a separate bowl with water. 
  • Remove boiling water from heat and add cornstarch mixture. 
  • Return to heat, stirring constantly. 
  • Boil until the mixture is clear and thick (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.
  • As the mixture is cooling, divide into separate bowls and add food coloring. 
  • Let the children carefully mix in the coloring.
  • Hint: Add 1 tbsp of glycerin to make the mixture shiny. You can find glycerin in pharmacies.


Yoghurt Paint

What you need:

  • Plain or Vanilla yogurt.
  • Food colouring.
  • Some small containers. or a muffin tray or plate. 

What to do:

  • Put a dollop of yoghurt into each container, or muffin cup or on the plate
  • Add and mix a couple of drops of food colouring into each one
  • Paint away on paper, or a baking tray, or paper towel, or mirror, or bath etc.


  • Straws - try blowing the paint across the paper
  • Marbles - dip the marble in paint and roll it around on the paper
  • Bottle - roll the bottle in the paint and across the paper
  • Use fingers, brushes, cotton balls, even leaves and rocks and grass etc.


This is a no mess paint experience and works something like those erase-drawing boards.  Perfect for the days that you really dont feel like mess, and the bonus is that it is a lovely sensory activity as well.

Paint In A Bag

What you need:

  • Ziplock bags (freezer bags are the strongest)
  • Home made paint, or hair gel, or shampoo
  • Food colouring for the non paint items

What to do:

  • Add the paint, or hair gel or shampoo to the bag and seal tightly
  • You could seal the bag with extra tape if needed
  • Place the bag onto a white piece of paper or cardboard and tape it down for stability
  • Use your finger to 'paint' 
  • Practice drawing letters, shapes and numbers


Jelly Bean Painting

What you need:

  • Jelly beans (or smarties)
  • Cardboard
  • Water
  • Spray bottle

What to do:

  • Spray water on your piece of cardboard until very damp
  • Place your jelly beans (or smarties) all over the wet cardboard (have extra for eating)
  • Add more water to help speed up the process

What happens:

  • As the jelly beans or smarties get wet, their colour starts to bleed off (just picture your toddlers hands after holding some smarties)
  • If you move them around, you can drag some of the colour
  • The longer they stay in one place, the brighter the puddle of colour


Puffy Paint

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • food colouring 

What to do:

  • Mix together and add enough water to make a smooth-ish paste, 
  • Add colour and mix
  • Paint on thick cardboard.
  • When the masterpieces are completed (or the paint is everywhere!) zap in your microwave for 30-40 seconds until the paint puffs up on the board.


Shaving Cream Marbel Painting1

What you need:

  • shallow pan (baking or roasting pan works great) 
  • shaving cream (foam, not gel)
  • liquid watercolors or food coloring
  • paper (printer paper is fine but cardboard works better)

What to do:

  • Spread a thick amount of shaving cream onto your surface.
  • Drop paint or food coloring onto the shaving cream. (3 colors or less at one time is best.)
  • Swirl the colors around however you'd like! (Using the handle end of a paintbrush works well, or a sosatie skewer etc.)
  • Take your paper and lay it on your paint design.  Smooth it all over very gently to transfer the design.
  • When you remove the paper, wait a minute or two and then gently scrape off the shaving cream from the paper.  (Use the edge of an ice-cream stick or butter knife)
  • The design stays on the paper and is really beautiful! You can use the finished product as wrapping paper and if you use scented shaving cream, you'll have scented paper!
  • Shaving Cream Marbel Painting


Ice Painting1

What you need:

  • Acrylic paint, or fabric paint - if you want to keep this for a while
  • Or food coloring
  • A white t-shirt or piece of material
  • Water
  • Ice-cube trays

What to do:

  • Mix the paint in a little water, or mix equal parts of food colouring and water
  • Put into the ice-cube trays
  • Freeze overnight
  • When ready, pop the coloured ice onto a plate, and use it to 'paint' on the material
  • As the ice melts it will leave lovely designs behind
  • Let your material dry
  • You can use this to decorate table clothes, place mats, hankies etc. And kids love to wear their art.

Ice Painting2

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