I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Making your own finger paint is easier than getting in the car, driving to the craft store, walking up and down the aisles, asking Cranky Customer Service Pam for help, deciphering ingredient lists to determine toxicity, and driving home empty handed (except for maybe some glitter).
This wonderfully creamy homemade paint can be used with a variety of tools like brushes, spoons, craft sticks, fingers and toes. And - I’ll be honest here - before I had a child of my own I did not understand the appeal of finger paint, but now I totally get it. It’s fun, it’s freeing and it’s an incredibly important experimental activity for little ones who are beginning to develop motor skills as they discover how their bodies work.
Like free play, finger painting allows kids to do what comes naturally without directions or expectations from grown ups. It's even fun for (gasp) adults.
So get ready to dig in with this super simple recipe.
In a saucepan, add 1/2 cup of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of sugar to 2 cups of cold water.
Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens and takes on a jelly-like consistency. This should take about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of liquid soap.*
Divide into muffin tins or bowls.
Add a few drops of food colouring into each container.
Paint, paint, paint! Try using paper or canvas. Or, tape a piece of wax paper onto poster board for a really smooth surface.
The finished painting will have a lot of texture when dry, not unlike puffy paint.
*Using this paint with little ones who still put everything in their mouths? Omitting the soap will make the recipe edible. Or, as an alternative, use vanilla pudding and food colouring.