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Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Make a Mess the Natural Way: Recipes for Homemade Fun

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By Kristin Masters

Toddlers and preschoolers love the visual and tactile experience of creating artwork. Finger painting and creating sculptures are always favorite activities, but these art products often contain harsh chemicals and dyes. To add another element of fun, create your own paints and play doughs at home, using all natural ingredients.How To Make Play Dough & Finger Paint

Simple Finger Paint, Straight from the Kitchen

Making your own finger paint takes three inexpensive ingredients: cornstarch, water, and food coloring. Be sure to keep little helpers far away from the stove, and to make sure that the paint is completely cool before allowing kids to start their masterpieces.

  • Bring three cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, dissolve one cup of cornstarch with a small amount of water.

  • Once the water in the saucepan reaches a boil, remove it from the heat, and add the cornstarch mixture.

  • Place the saucepan back over the heat, until the mixture is thick and clear. Stir occasionally.

  • Divide the mixture into separate containers. Once it cools, add different food coloring or eco friendly dye to each container, for a variety of colors.

Easy Playdough Kids Can Make from Scratch

With this basic recipe, kids can make their own fun, using ingredients that are already in the pantry. To protect their clothes from flour and food coloring, have them wear a kids’ art smock or an old oversized t-shirt.

  • Blend four cups of flour and ¼ cup salt. In a separate bowl, mix 1 ½ cups water and 1 tablespoon oil.

  • Add the water mixture to the flour and salt. Knead together slowly. The substance will gradually get less sticky.

  • For color, add a few drops of food coloring. Beet, carrot, or spinach juice can also be used as natural dyes.

Tips for Easy Clean Up

Kids love expressing their creativity, which can get messy. Protect their clothes—and your home—from their artistic endeavors with these quick tips:

  • Place a drop cloth or mess mat on the floor. These can be shaken outside, to remove crumbs and other debris, and they protect the floor from paint drips or dropped food coloring.

  • Cover counters with parchment or wax paper, and tape the ends underneath the edge with painter’s tape.

  • Check the bottoms of kids’ shoes before they leave the art area. That way, if they have stepped in paint or other substances, it can be cleaned off before they make paint tracks all over the house.

  • Keep plenty of good, old fashioned soap on hand. A nail brush is also a useful tool for getting dried paint or play dough.

  • Kids can wear an art smock or protective sleeves to keep stains off their clothes.

Art gives kids the ability to express their creativity, build fine motor skills, and even discover a new passion. All natural homemade art supplies are a great way to foster their fun and save money.

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