Puffy Paint

So, I have had endless fun this past week playing with different mediums for painting and I’ve come across one that I absolutely love and I’m sure that you, ahem, I mean your children (it is for them after all) will love it too.

It’s super simple and just uses 3 ingredients that most people have in their kitchen as staples. It can be as messy or as clean as you want it to be, with the added bonus of being safe enough should you have any little ones that like to explore with their mouths (although their mouths may turn interesting colours so be warned)!

I’m talking about that fantastic medium that is puffy paint!

Not only does it produce great results, but it is so much fun that I can almost guarantee that you will be grabbing a paintbrush to try it out too and see what amazing pictures you can come up with yourself. Just do remember to let your children have a go!

Make up as many little pots of different colours as you can, the more the merrier. Although if you only have one little bit of food colouring lurking in your cupboard then this works just as well, as it’s the overall effect of the puffy paint that is the key here, not the colour. Different colours, just help to create a more diverse effect.

It can be educational too, who knew!

Of course, if you want to make the paints up ready for your child then that’s great, but why not take the opportunity to enhance their learning development by letting them help to make the paints.

By giving them tasks to do such as measuring out the flour, salt and water, counting the scoops, counting the drops of food colouring etc, you can give them some early counting practice and you can enhance this further for older ones by challenging them to add the amount of scoops together or add the scoops and the drops of food colouring. What about asking what number of scoops it would be if you added one more, or one less?

Help them to use their motor skills by getting them to do the mixing. Can they mix it in the other direction? Again, bring in basic maths and numbers by seeing if they can stir it one way 2 times and then the other way 2 times. How many stirs is that altogether? Make it harder. 5 stirs each way, 10 stirs each way etc…. maybe for even older ones, start with a number and see if they can stir half that amount or double it. You can start to bring in words like clockwise and anti clockwise here if they are old enough. See what you are doing? They are having a fun time with a messy play and you are sneaking in bits of maths and learning without them even realising! Go you!

Now when you are at the stage where you are ready to use the puffy paint, I highly recommend that you paint on some card for the best effect. Paper is going to be too thin for this. Don’t worry if you haven’t got any card- we seldom have in this house as it can be expensive to buy- but you know all those online deliveries you may have been getting recently that come in a ‘cheery’ looking box (yes, you know the ones I mean) or those empty cereal boxes that you were going to throw away…cut them up and use the inside as a perfect base for your painting, just don’t forget to cut it small enough to fit in your microwave!

Where the magic happens

When it comes to putting it in the microwave, 30 seconds is the absolute maximum. It won’t need any longer than that and it’s just enough time for the paint to puff up and to set it without actually cooking it.

When you take it out of the microwave, the card will be warm so just let it cool (it won’t take long) before touching. The end result will vary but I bet your children will be fascinated by the end result. Maybe even an opportunity to sneak a bit of “why has it puffed up?” science in here. I am sure you as well as your children will be very pleased with their creation. It’s great for sensory exploration running fingers over all those different bumps the paint has created and visually it’s very interesting too.

Craft, maths, motor skills, fun, science, sensory play that’s easy and inexpensive…..what’s not to love?

Have fun!

Sensory Play Recipe – Puffy Paint

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Water
  • Food colouring 

You will also need: 

  • Bowls 
  • Spoons
  • Paintbrushes 
  • Card
  • Microwave

Method

Mix 1 tbsp self raising flour with 1 tbsp salt in a small bowl. Add a little bit of water (maybe a tsp to start and add more if needed) and mix it until it’s a paste a bit like the consistency of yoghurt.

Then add a few drops of food colouring and mix the colour in. Repeat this for any other different colours that you want to make and get painting! 

Once you are happy with your creation, pop it in to the microwave for 30 seconds (no more) and watch the paint puff up and set.

Leave it for a moment to cool when you take it out of the microwave and that’s it!

It’s a simple as that!

Elizabeth Taylor, Education Director

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