Children love to paint. The only thing they love more is having fun and getting messy while paintingÃ¢Â?Â¦preferably with their fingers. You can easily make your own finger paints right in the kitchen with supplies you may already have on hand.
You will need to gather a few materials for this homemade finger paint project. You will need flour, water, food coloring, a saucepan and spoon, baby food jars or other small jars to keep the paint in, paper for painting on, a sponge and newspapers or other material for protecting the surface of the painting area. A funnel used for craft purposes may also come in handy. If you do not have one, you can easily make one by cutting away the lower half of a plastic drink bottle and inverting it, using the bottleneck as the funnel spout.
Be sure that your jars are clean and well dried. I suggest gathering all of the materials together before starting this. Excited children standing watch can be distracting and having all of the supplies gathered to start with allows you to work around the stove and be able to continuously keep watch that your child isn’t too near the stove. Accidents can happen in mere seconds. One way to help keep excited kids from getting in the way or too near the stovetop is to explain exactly how you will make the finger paints and how they will be helping with the most important part of all – adding the color to your paint. Having them help when you get to this step will also provide an opportunity to teach them about mixing primary colors and the results of different color combinations.
Once everything you will be using is in a handy place you’ll be ready for the work on the stove. You will be using Ã?Â½ cup of flour and 2 cups of water. Mix the Ã?Â½ cup of flour with a little of the water, carefully stirring out all of the lumps. Once the mixture is smooth, slowly stir in the rest of your water. The blended flour and water will now need to be cooked over medium heat, stirring constantly. You should keep stirring until your mixture becomes thick and a little shiny. At this stage, turn off the heat and transfer the uncolored paint to the jars you will be using. Carefully pour some of your paint mixture into each of the jars using your funnel. There is no specific amount to pour into each jar, just be sure you have enough containers for each color you will be making.
Now, while the mixture is still warm in the jars you will need to add the food coloring to create your desired colors. You will simply stir in the food coloring drops until the desired color has been attained. Use uncolored paint mixture for white if you are using colored paper to paint on. Once all of your colors have been mixed you should let the paints cool. This coloring step is a great time to ask for your child’s help. While stirring in the food coloring drops you can talk about making new colors from the food coloring colors you have. As I’m sure you’re aware, children love to show you what they know. For children old enough to know about mixing colors you can use this opportunity ask them to help you make colors. For example, you may tell them that you wish we had a nice bright purple paint. Then try asking if they remember what colors you have on the table that could be mixed to make purple. Not only will they be happy that they have helped you with something, they will also feel proud that they have knowledge that you, an adult, found to be valuable. Simple things like this can help do wonders for a child’s sense of self-respect and self-esteem.
While waiting for your paints to cool you can prepare your table or whatever work surface your child will be painting on. You can spread old newspapers over the surface or use a cheap plastic tablecloth. I have a thin plastic tablecloth that was purchased for $1. I keep this in the craft box with the other arts and crafts supplies so I do not have to go hunting for newspapers, which I usually recycle rather quickly. It is a handy place to keep it since it is kept exclusively for use while crafting.
When the paints have cooled enough to use, wipe the paper to be painted on with a wet sponge, smoothing it over the newspaper or tablecloth. You can use a spoon to put the paint directly on the painting paper or use an old lid to place a spoonful of each color on to make a painters’ palette. All that is left is to put your little artist to work!