Edible Baby-Safe Finger Paints

Nov 26, 2013

I don't know about you, but I love colour. Bright, happy, cheery colours. I can't stay sad or cross when I'm surrounded by colour. I feel the same way about finger painting. I get to witness the little ones around me enjoying the process of mixing and squishing all those beautiful colours together to make new and more beautiful colours. In my opinion, no other art activity offers such freedom of expression, tactile discovery, fine-motor practice, visual stimulation, pre-writing skill development, or stress-relieving therapy for the very young. And now we are adding an invitation for our sense of smell. By adding a little bit of Kool-Aid powder to our edible, baby-safe finger paint recipe, we took an already process-rich activity to a whole new level of sensory play. 

What You Need

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups cold water 
  • saucepan and whisk
  • powdered juice crystals...we used Kool-Aid 


  1. Whisk cornstarch, sugar and cold water together in a saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until thickened. Do not wait too long to remove from heat or it will over-cook and clump. Let the paint cool before playing.
  2. Once the paint has cooled, drop spoonfuls of paint right on to the table. Why hinder yourself with paper that will get soggy and end up with frustrating holes in it? We like to paint right on the table for ultimate freedom. In this instance, we are using our finger paint board out in the yard. It is simply the top of an old dresser that had fallen apart and was ready for salvage. 
  3. On each spoonful of paint, sprinkle some juice powder for the children to mix into their paint.

Now your work is over and you can enjoy the children's happy exploration of colour, and scent, and texture.

They start out tentatively and careful, but soon they will be asking for more paint and more coloured juice powder, and they will be up to their elbows in happy.

A Few Helpful Hints

  • If you'd like to make a print of the child's finger painting as a keepsake, just press a piece of paper over her work and then lift it off and hang to dry. 
  • The Kool-Aid powder will stain, so play clothes and/or smocks would be helpful if you're worried. 

Happy Painting, everyone!

Article Author Arlee Greenwood
Arlee Greenwood

Read more from Arlee here.

Arlee is an Early Childhood Educator, earning her degree at BYU Idaho. She runs a government accredited care center in her home in Red Deer, AB. She studied with the New York Institute of Photography and she owns her own photography studio. Arlee is a mother of 6, an aspiring yogi, a lover of books, bento box lunches, travel, good food and wine. She’s a blogger in her “spare time” and she will never say no to chocolate. Find her at Small Potatoes, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.