Make Bathtub Paint Activity

3.1 based on 115 ratings
Updated on Sep 28, 2012

Rub a dub dub, art and science in the tub! Great for bath time, or anytime your child is feeling the creative itch, these bright bathtub paints are a fun and low-mess way to spice up art time. He'll work with measurement and color mixing as he concocts his paint creations.

What You Need:

  • 1/3 cup baby shampoo per paint color
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch per paint color
  • Food coloring
  • Measuring cups, tablespoon, and stirring spoon
  • Plastic cups
  • Cotton swabs (optional, for use as paint “brushes”)

What You Do:

  1. Have your child measure out and pour the baby shampoo into a plastic cup.
  2. Next, ask him to add the cornstarch into the same cup and stir until the ingredients are mixed.
  3. Help him carefully squeeze two drops of food coloring into the shampoo mixture and stir again.
  4. Discuss with him the science behind what happened to the mixture when he added the cornstarch. Cornstarch caused the shampoo to thicken up, which helps it stick to smooth surfaces (like a bathtub) better.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 three more times to create other colors of paint. Place each color in its own plastic cup. This is a great opportunity to talk about color mixing with your child. Show him how you can mix primary colors together to create new colors.
  6. During bath time, encourage him to paint on the walls of the bathtub using his new paints. He can fingerpaint, or use the cotton swabs as paint “brushes.” Be sure to supervise while he paints so he doesn't get paint in his eyes, which can sting.
  7. When bath time is over, help him clean the walls of the bathtub with a washcloth. This activity gives you clean tub walls and a clean child!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.