Mini Monets and Mommies: Color-Mixing with Marshmallow Finger Paint

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Color-Mixing with Marshmallow Finger Paint

Marshmallow finger paint? Ok, so I’m not in any way saying this is a new invention. Moms, preschool teachers and anyone else who works with young children have probably been using a similar concoction for decades. That said, I happened to have half a jar of uneaten marshmallow fluff on hand (after making candy sushi) and was looking for a way to use it that didn’t end up on my hips.

Kids' art

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Let me start by saying I’m not a fan of using food for kids’ arts and crafts. I’m not soap box-y about it or anything, but I try (emphasis on try) to stick to what I get at the craft store. Even so, I really don’t look at marshmallow fluff as food. While it technically is (you put it in your mouth, chew it and digest it), the ooey, gooey stuff has no real nutritional value and isn’t exactly my number one pick for my son’s school lunch – even though it might be his.

I’ve been trying to cut back on my sugar intake, and needed something else to do with the fluff in my pantry (I felt guilty tossing it in the trash). The whipped texture may be sticky, but is a pretty cool texture to use for a DIY kids’ paint. Not only is it an easy base for finger paint, but it also smells amazing and is taste-safe for little ones.

This activity allows your child to explore the painting process, discover different textures and mix colors. Let’s start with the basic mixing – the first thing you and your child may notice is that your three primary colors (red, blue and yellow) look more like Easter egg hues than vivid, bold shades. Why? Why is exactly the question that you want to ask your child right now. Ask him to think about why the bright red food coloring turns into a pretty pink when he mixes it with the fluff (hint: the fluff is white and white, does what? – It makes other colors lighter).

Before we begin mixing the paint, I want to cover one other point. Some kids don’t like getting messy. It’s just a fact. No matter how much you want them to get hands-on and engage in messy play, they shy away (or scream, “Ewwwwww!”). For some children it’s a texture thing, for others it’s a clean issue. In my years of teaching art, I’ve had more than a few children who stressed over getting brightly colored paint anywhere near their hands. If your child has this concern, don’t wash the fluff of his fingers after he scoops it out of the container. The thin coating won’t interfere with the painting process, but will protect his fingers from the food coloring (kind of like gloves, without the actual gloves). You can also do the same (that is, if you don’t want food coloring stained hands). And bonus, when you finally do wipe the fluff off, it leaves your fingers surprisingly moisturized!
Primary colors

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Marshmallow fluff

·        Food coloring

·        Wax paper

·        Card stock paper

Here’s What to Do:

1. Scoop the fluff out onto the wax paper. The wax paper acts as a barrier, making it an inexpensive paint palette. There’s really no need to make exact measurements. Experiment with adding different amounts of fluff and food coloring each time that you try this activity. Changing the quantities of each changes the intensity of the colors. I used two 2-finger scoops of fluff per color.
Marshmallow fluff

Sweet paint

2. Add one to two drops of food coloring into each pile of fluff. Use the primaries (red, blue and yellow), reinforcing new art vocabulary words such as the names of the colors and the term ‘primary colors’. Ask your child what he thinks he can do with these colors or why they are special.
Kids' paint

3. Mix each color in with its fluff to get the marshmallow finger paint.
Finger Paints

4. Paint! Your child can explore the paint, making abstract art and mixing the colors together. One of the things that I absolutely love about using marshmallow fluff paint is the way that children can layer the textures (finger paintings almost turn into having Impressionist style brushstrokes). Your child can also use his fingers to ‘draw’ in the paint after he puts it on the paper, making lines and squiggles or creating negative spaces.

Childrens' crafts

Explore how the paint reacts in different temperatures too! Add in a bit of science and ask your child what he thinks will happen (making a prediction) if you move the paint onto a warm, sunny window. Now, try it. As he paints, the heat makes the fluff a bit runnier – changing the texture and turning it from somewhat solid to more of a liquid (in other words, it melts). You can also pop the fluff paint into the fridge before using just to see if the cold changes it.

Are you looking for more kids’ art activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Creative Kids Crafts on Pinterest.


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  2. i'm a big advocate of messy paint! Would love to see your posts in the Practical Mondays Link Up:)

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