Thursday, October 18, 2012

Behr the Painter

If there's two things I know about my little Behr it's that 1. he loves to try new things and have adventures and 2. if he can't climb it he will eat it (and some things he will attempt to do both; you should see him at the playground). Pavers repaving our entire street and Mama with a cold meant a home-bound day for little Behrly which certainly is not his preference for this little adventurer. Most days we leave the house at least for an errand or a visit to Meeps or go for a walk or do something. Watching the big trucks that accompanied the pavers was fun for a while but then we needed a new activity and so I pulled out an idea I'd been saving: finger painting! It was a big hit with my little man. He loved the mess but he was also very focused on the paper (a good percentage of the time). I have a video of him with it and he's very quiet which is actually unusual for this my little chatterbox. It means he was working hard on his smooshy, blurry, blotty mess of a painting. I love watching this kid play and learn. And while it was certainly messy it wasn't an overwhelming clean-up. Some water and a rinse in the tub (which other than the huge blob of paint he put in his hair could have been avoided) and we were ready for nap time. I can't wait to do it again and watch as he starts to learn about different colors too!

Recipe/How-To Make Baby Friendly Finger Paint:
(I combined several I found online to come-up with this; if you google you'll find lots of great versions!)
- 1/3 c. of corn starch (at this point we're pretty sure he's not allergic to corn though he doesn't have a ton of it in his diet so I felt comfortable using it; you could also use any sort of flour I would imagine)
- 1 c. of water
- 1 tbsp of sugar (I used less)
- 1/8 c. baby shampoo

1) Stir water and corn starch together in a pot until smooth.
2) Heat mixture over low heat stirring regularly until it thickens. This is where I ran into a problem. I initially labeled this project a failure and walked away because after the proposed five minutes of heating mine was even more liquidy and not thickening at all. I left it on the stove and went to play with Behr while looking at more recipes for what other people did. Eventually I just turned the heat up on my pot and left it alone and after about five minutes of not stirring at all I came back to a thickened, nearly finished "paint."
3) Allow to cool. (I actually didn't allow it to cool until I'd mixed in the soap and the color but you know. Other people suggested you wait...)
4) Stir in 1/8 c. of baby shampoo or similar (really I just used a few squirts of it and probably not a full 1/8 c. that just seemed like a lot).
5) Stir in food coloring to desired color. (I used regular food coloring but you could use something a bit more natural but this project was all about using what I had on hand--and really as much as Behr puts in his mouth I figured he wasn't gonna eat that much.)

Some people don't heat the mixture and just use soap and corn starch. Some people use salt. Some people add boiling water to the mixture and then heat it. Some people use dish soap instead of baby shampoo. There's even ideas of "naturally" dying the paint with different food like beets or berries. Definitely a recommended "baby activity" if you have the time and patience.