Wednesdays: Artists at Work


Finding engaging and safe art experiences for babies can sometimes be a daunting task since children of this age are known to put things in their mouth. Fortunately, there are ways that babies can experience artistic endeavors safely without fear of eating something not suitable for them. Here are some edible paint ideas for giving your young child the opportunity to experience what it feels like be a boundless artist. 

Activity : Edible Paint

Recipe 1: Homemade Edible Paint

What You Need

  • Food coloring

  • 2 cups flour

  • Boiling Water

  • Cold Water

What to do

Scoop 2 cups of flour into a big bowl. Add cold water mixed with drops of food coloring and stir until you make a paste with no lumps. Add freshly boiled water a little at a time and stir until you get the desired consistency.

Recipe 2: Yogurt Painting

Before assembling this project, your child should have eaten yogurt on at least three occasions without a reaction. If you haven’t introduced this food yet, check with your pediatrician to see if your baby is ready to eat yogurt.

What you need

  • One or two small containers of plain or vanilla yogurt

  • Food coloring

What to do

Mix yogurt and food coloring together 

A tip for this recipe is that vanilla yogurt is yummy and will likely be eaten by your child. If you don’t want to encourage paint eating stick with plain yogurt.

You can give your child the yogurt in the containers with a piece of paper, cardboard or plate for the painting surface, or structure the activity a little more by displaying the edible finger paint on a paint palette made from a paper plate.  

Then let the creative process begin with a paint brush or their fingers. 

If you are worried about the mess, you can put your child in their high chair or move this activity to the bathtub. When your child is finished, just use a wet cloth to wipe down the high chair or bathtub and then get your child squeaky clean too.

Toddlers & Preschool

Just like adults, children need to develop strategies for managing their emotions, so that they can build social-emotional skills. When children learn how to be more emotionally aware now and later in life they can more effectively maintain loving relationships, and self regulate when challenges arise.

But unlike most adults, it can be difficult for children to understand their emotions without adult support. The process of calming down when upset and using words to describe feelings requires a lot of practice. A wonderful tool to help guide this process, is through books that focus on children’s emotions in a developmentally appropriate manner. This week we are going to focus on a Caldecott Medalist, Go Away Big Green Monster. Published more than 25 years ago, this classic helps children express their fears with humor.

Activity: Expression of Emotions

What you need:

  • Paper plate

  • Markers or paint

  • decorative embellishments (cotton balls, yarn, pipe cleaners)

  • glue

  • Book - The Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly

It’s hard to get books these days, so here is a video you can use to introduce your child to the book

To do:

The first time you read this book, encourage your child to chime in on the "you don't scare me" pages. Then you can read it again and as you read the book use "I'm wondering" questions to encourage your child's participation in the reading. Questions like - "Look at those teeth. I'm wondering how those teeth feel. Sharp? What else can you think of that's sharp?" You can broach the subject of feelings by asking "Is the green face scary to you? Is there anything else scary?" Listen carefully to your child's responses which you can revisit at the end of the art activity.

For the art activity, you can start by cutting out holes for eyes on a paper plate

With your child, figure out what you want your monster mask to look like and what materials you need to make your monster. Most children want the face to be green but you can use any color for an original monster. To end the activity, you can encourage your child to dramatize the book wearing their monster mask.

Your child might want to revisit this book regularly due to it’s humorous bend and/or to help them figure out what to do with scary feelings. Read the book as much as your child wants as you stay sensitive to helping your child express their emotions.