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Paint with Food!

3.7 based on 81 ratings
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Updated on May 23, 2014

Kids love doing crafts and they love food. Here's an opportunity for them to combine two of their favorite things! By creating natural paints out of foods, kindergarteners will learn how color was found and used (before the invention of markers and crayons). From mustard to beets, there are tons of foods that can be used to dye clothing or paint pictures. This activity not only allows kids to get creative, it also helps them learn about all of the natural color around them.

What You Need:

  • Foods for painting (dry mustard, paprika, cocoa, blackberries, curry, beets, red currants and more)
  • Watercolor paper
  • Water
  • Paintbrushes
  • Muffin tin
  • Spoons
  • OPTIONAL: measuring cup or medicine dropper

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to tell you his favorite colors. Write down the colors he names and explain that instead of using crayons or markers, you're going to make the same colors using food.
  2. Go to the market! Pick out color-rich foods like the ones listed above. Show them to your child and discuss the color of each item. Tell your child that you are going to use the dyes in the foods to make your own paint. Have him predict what colors he can create using each food item.
  3. Place a small sample of each food item in a compartment of the muffin tin. For example, place some paprika in one compartment and place some cocoa in a different compartment.
  4. Just add water! Using a measuring cup or medicine dropper, help your child add a little water at a time. Use the spoon to mix the food into a paint-like consistency.
  5. Using his paintbrush, have your child create an original piece of artwork. Anything goes, from still lifes to abstract art. Remind him to use a different brush for each color of paint or rinse the brushes before using a different color.
  6. For a neat twist, try experiencing this activity as a pioneer. Help your child to make his own paintbrushes using pine boughs, assorted grass blades, or feathers. Have him to paint a picture with his natural paintbrush and natural paints.
Latrenda Knighten has spent 19 years teaching in a variety of elementary school classrooms, from kindergarten through fifth grade. For nine of those years, she taught kindergarten. She also served as an elementary school math and science specialist. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.