Easy Finger Paint Recipe

best finger paint recipe When I was a teenager my older sister and I both worked as day camp leaders. I worked at a nice rec center with a huge wave pool, rock climbing wall, skating rink and lots of art supplies. She didn’t. She worked at a tiny rec center with a few multipurpose rooms and a small neighborhood pool. She made these finger paint for her camps all the time. On a rainy day I decided to bust out her old and easy finger paint recipe and have fun with my 3 year old who loves to cook and finger paint. The result was a fun day with my favorite 3 year old and a surprisingly clean kitchen. So often we just make the paints or playdough or cloud dough but involving the kids in the making creates a deeper level of learning and exploration.

The recipe :

1/4 cup of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of water.
food coloring or a little washable paint if you are concerned about staining.

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for bigger groups.

Food color will stain hands/ clothes if not washed right away but the experience of making paint from scratch was worth pink hands for a few hours. You may not want to do this with nice clothes on or before family pictures. The alternative is to use some tempra paint in the place of the food coloring.

 

Gather your materials. You will need cornstarch, water, sugar, food coloring, a pot, a bowl, measuring cups, spoon, spatula, finger paint paper, containers and toothpicks for stirring. non toxic finger paint recipe

 

Start by mixing the dry ingredients. I measured out the ingredients for my daughter so she could do this independently and because I had JUST enough cornstarch that if we spilled too much the recipe would have flopped. Planning ahead is not my strong suit. With a slightly older child getting them to do the measuring would be rad.  home made finger paints

” All of it Mama?” Her face lit up when I said yes. So glad she likes to cook because by the time she is old enough to do it herself I will be so so over making dinner every night.cooking finger paints

Mix. Your kids will probably notice what she did which is that sometimes the spoon gets stuck while mixing. That’s the cornstarch. If you have extra cornstarch while the paint is cooling grab some and explore it in a shallow pan with some water. It’s a fun sensory activity. how to make finger paint

Once it’s well mixed pour it into the pot and warm over medium heat. I had it on low while she was stirring and then turned it up and stirred it myself.  Also I used a big spatula for her to stir with so she wouldn’t be too close to the warm pot. When it starts to thicken take it off the burner and stir. It will get even thicker as it cools. easy finger paint recipe for kids

I let it cool mostly in the pot then spooned it into the containers until it was completely cooled.

Add a few drops of food coloring. I asked her how many and then we counted together. Math and cooking are best buddies! homemade finger paints for kids

Mix! food coloring finger paintsAs you can see I popped a bib on her since food coloring stains but it was way too small…. So when it was time to paint I grabbed an apron for her. Worked much better!

Time to paint. I covered the kitchen island with a paint drop cloth and gave her some finger paint paper and let her go for it. finger painting with homemade finger paints

And go for it she did.

finger painting

When she started painting her arms it was time for one last picture and to move on to washing up in the sink.finger painting turns to arm painting Not only did this help get the excess off her hands it also got the dishes clean too. She had a blast cooking, painting , and cleaning. She was so excited to tell her dad that she made a painting with paints she cooked and I loved that she told him all about each step hours later. My intention wasn’t to have her do a retell of the activity but it happened naturally. I love watching kids learn!cleaning up finger paints

Comments

  1. Jennie says

    We made this today. First time finger painting for my grand-daughter! It was a big success. I put a few drops of peppermint EO for an extra sensory experience. Thanks for the great idea.

    • Allison McDonald says

      Fun! I am so happy it worked so well for you. My daughter LOVED the feeling of the paint too… if those pictures aren’t evidence enough!

  2. says

    aw yes I worked for a non profit low income Pre-K and we had to make everything even colored construction paper (if you ever want to know about that email me, your kids would have fun).

    love your little soap dispenser that got into the last picture!

    • Allison McDonald says

      I would keep it no more than a day or two in the fridge. I have kept it longer but when it’s finger paint I just feel like it should be used up quickly.

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