Creativity should be encouraged from the time that a toddler can sit up and reach out to touch his surroundings. When he realizes that his hands and fingers are more than just something to suck on for comfort, he can be introduced to painting. Because of the natural inclination to taste or chew on things, it has to be more than just nontoxic. Finger paints for toddlers must be edible. It can be made in a wide array of vibrant colors and luscious scents, and it can be used to encourage self-expression while further enhancing their sense of touch, taste and smell.
Do not worry about your toddler making a mess while creating random works of modern art. Place a variety of colors on a highchair tray, or layout a vinyl tablecloth and an old blanket. Let your child enjoy smearing the paint around on sheets of freezer paper or on a highchair tray. Although it can stain fabrics, it will wash off of tender skin by the second bath. Lotion or petroleum jelly can also be used to gently and immediately wipe it away.
To make edible finger paints for toddlers you will need plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. The Greek variety is ideal because it is thicker and creamier than the regular kind. You will also need packets of unsweetened drink mix, small bowls or jars, and a small spatula or spoon for blending a variety of colors. You will also need freezer paper or another smooth surface that can be wiped clean or thrown away when finished. Either way, it should be white or light in color for visual contrast.
Begin by spooning the Greek yogurt into individual bowls, cups or containers. Add a small amount of unsweetened drink mix. It will not take much. Thoroughly blend it with a spoon, and increase the intensity if necessary by adding a little at a time. Keep in mind that colors can be mixed to create new hues.
Immediately refrigerate the edible paint until ready to use, but do not keep it longer than three or four days after opening the yogurt and adding edible colorant. Always smell and taste each one to make sure that it has not spoiled before giving it to your toddler. It will make a huge mess, but your child will love smearing it around and while manipulating the colorful scented mixture.
Sources: Advanced Crafting Education and Experience
Mother of Five Children