Babies · Programs

Baby Art Playground: Natural Taste-Safe Fingerpaint Play

Taste-Safe Fingerpaint Play

Part of the Baby Art Playground series

“Allow baby to explore the texture and beauty of paint without worrying about toxins or unnatural additives. Baby will be painting with food-based paint so be prepared to dress for mess!”

Oooo dis one was fun. With all of my Baby Art Playground programs, I’m looking for a fun 45-minute activity for the patrons that they may duplicate at home on a later date. This means the craft must be enticing enough for them to come (marketing for the win) yet an easy, quick, and inexpensive craft for them to redo at home. I also have to tweak the recipes for 50 babies, so there’s also that.

While there are a lot of baby-safe paint options out there, I found the recipes from Fun at Home with Kids to be enticing and perfect for large scale production. And while the name of this program is a bit of a mouthful, it’s just enough key phrases to catch a caregiver’s attention. Here are the deets for the program:

Why fingerpaint play?

Writing is a key componenet of the Every Child Ready to Read 2nd Edition program from the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Public Library Association (PLA). By introducing our children to fingerpaint play, we are giving them the fine motor skills needed to be able to hold a crayon and, later, a pencil to write and share their creativity with others.


  • Beets
  • Turmeric
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Flour
  • Almond Milk
  • White butcher paper
  • Ladle
  • Wipes

Adapting for a library

Adjusting for a larger audience can always be a challenge. First, I did a trial run of all 5 paints from the book produced by Fun at Home with Kids called 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (highly recommend!). Prep time was quite involved when you take into account purchasing of the supplies, the trial run (week before), and the mass creation of paint for the program (day before). I decided that the pink paint (beets) and the yellow paint (turmeric) were the cheapest and easiest to mass produce.

I believe I did 40 servings of the original recipe which was waaay too much (MRW I dumped 3/4 of my midnight procrastination paint). We had approximately 25 babies per session (106 participants total) and each child got about 2 tablespoons of paint so keep this in mind when you are making the paint for your group. For 50 babies total, I used about 4 cups of paint per color.

I rolled out three long sheets of white butcher paper for the babies to paint on the floor. This was perfect but we did need to keep an extra eye on the babies if they tried to walk away with paint all over their bodies and feet. Wipes were an essential purchase.

Storytime component     To tie in the power of the library and early literacy, we sang a song at the beginning of the program. I encouraged parents to use this song if their baby was getting fussy, scared, or weirded out by the paint.

Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Painting, painting with our hands.

Let’s explore all that we can.

Let’s create and have some fun.

Make some art before we’re done.

Painting, painting with our hands.

Let’s explore all that we can.

Handout     On the handout, I included the source of the art activity, the EL song, and the recipe for all 5 paints for caregivers to duplicate at home.

Tips for next time

  • Create less paint. Believe me. Do not multiply the recipe by the amount of kids you expect will come. You will need emotional support later as you pour buckets of paint into the trash.
  • Recommend babies wear onesies. This was important because we were taking pictures for our photosharing website and I did not include any nakey babies online. The paint was all natural but the turmeric does permanently stain. I offered to share the cute pictures of the shirtless babies via email but this became quite the hassle because I had to communicate with a dozen photo-lovin’ mommies.

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