Homemade BABY edible paint and TASTE-SAFE sensory bin ideas to explore textures and trigger multi-sensorial stimulation with mouthing children.
Homemade BABY TASTE-SAFE finger paint is a fun and easy way to explore sensory art with little ones who are still investigating their world mainly through the mouth. Besides, oral sensory seeking behavior, or mouthing items, is a typical way for babies and infants who use sucking to explore the world and help self soothe. So, it is crucial that we know the exact ingredients of what might end up in little people’s mouths. Thus, making sensory paint at home, and preferable having it taste horrible, will allow for a SAFER multi-sensorial exploration. Additionally, see the recipes below and substitute ways to make an edible sensory bin for exploring textures and colors. Most importantly, with this BABY TASTE-SAFE SENSORY PAINT recipe, you can have a ‘slimy’ sensory bin OR taste-safe paint! And the best part, it does not taste good, so your little one will NOT be inclined to eat it!
Benefits of Multi-Sensorial Stimulation
Recent research advocates that combining the sense of touch with other senses such as vision, hearing, smell, and/or taste helps build cognitive skills. In fact, pediatricians now advocate for simultaneous multi-sensorial stimulation! The nervous system is multisensorial right from its early development stage when a toddler, for example, uses a sense of touch to explore the texture of food, smell and taste to identify it, and the vestibular sense to sit upright at a weaning chair during food offerings. In fact, hands-on learning through the power of sensory play happens all the time! Besides advancing fine motor skills, children also develop language, social interaction, and reasoning skills, as they strengthen neurological pathways within the developing brain! Sensory play also helps build new synapses between neurons, leading to a lasting memory and brain agility! Thus, homemade edible sensory bin or taste-safe paint offer little people a safe opportunity to explore the world and stimulate the senses!
BABY TASTE-SAFE SENSORY PAINT
YOU’LL NEED FOR BABY TASTE-SAFE SENSORY PAINT
- Tapioca Pearls (I used small Premium Grade $18 for 5 lb ~ similar but more expensive $19 for 3 lb here)
- food coloring
- containers (I am using 4 oz plastic mason jars)
Please note, since you are COOKING the mixture, this paint is TASTE-SAFE!
TO MAKE BABY TASTE-SAFE SENSORY PAINT: (for each color batch)
- boil 2 cups of water
- add 1/8 cup of tapioca pearls
- add food coloring
- cook for 20-30 min
- once cooled down, add 1/2 cup of corn starch
- mix well (depending on how much water evaporated while you were boiling it, you might need to add a little more water )
- let cool
Also, with toddlers, offer a paintbrush and cardboard (or tape the paper to the table) and let the child explore textures while expressing creativity! The idea with taste safe paint is to offer children an opportunity to hold a paintbrush and lay paint on paper. Start with PRIMARY COLORS and model mixing them to make SECONDARY colors. Have a towel or a sponge nearby to wipe the mess.
STORE TASTE-SAFE SENSORY PAINT in the refrigerator for about 3 months. Prior to using, observe for any mold or putrid odor. Discard if in doubt.
- NATURALLY GLUTEN-FREE – Tapioca pearls are made from starch extracted from the cassava root, which is a naturally gluten-free ingredient. This makes it a perfect fit for a variety of alternative diets.
- ONE ALL-NATURAL INGREDIENT – Tapioca pearls only have one ingredient: Tapioca. This makes it so that you can be confident that there are no preservatives/additives or extra ingredients that you don’t want to end up in your child’s mouth.
- THICKENING AGENT – As a naturally gluten-free thickening agent, tapioca pearls can be used to make puddings, pies and jellies.
- DISHES – Tapioca pearls can be used in all types of desserts, popsicles, sweet drinks, dumplings, in savory dishes such as vegetable or cream-based soups… the possibilities only end with your imagination!
AGE 6 months +⚠️ Always supervise your child! Will stain hands!
Other Homemade EDIBLE Sensory Play Ideas
- mix yogurt with food coloring (the more coloring you add, the more intense the color will be likely to stain hands)
- mix baby cereal with food coloring
- bake flour on low 80-100 C (300 F) for 15 min ~ add warm water and food coloring (ratio 2 : 3, thus 2 spoons or cups of flour to 3 of water) and mix everything
- cornflower and water ~ cook a little while whisking until you reach the desired consistency
- flour, water, salt, food coloring ~ ratio: 2 – 2 – 1. So, 1/4 cup flour + 1/4 cup water + 1/8 of salt. Mix dry ingredients first (flour and salt). Add a drop of food coloring to HOT water and pour it into the flour and salt mixture. Mix well until smooth. This is a kind of “watery play dough” recipe.
RAW flour or cornstarch may contain e-Coli and therefore MUST be baked to be TASTE-SAFE!
HOW TO DISCOURAGE EATING
Despite the BABY SENSORY PAINT or slime being TASTE SAFE, you want to discourage little ones from eating it!
We want to DETER little ones from eating anything that is NOT food! Good habits will ensure SAFE play! So, if they put it into their mouth, calmly say “No, not for eating. Not in your mouth.” or “Do not put it in your mouth. This is not food.” Or stick a tongue out and make a yucky /disgusted face. Most importantly, model appropriate ways to play. If the behavior persists, remove and introduce it later.
COLOR MIXING STEM
This sensory play is also a FUN COLOR-MIXING experiment! Mix BLUE + YELLOW to make GREEN. Mix BLUE+ RED + (optional PINK) to make PURPLE.
WHY SENSORY PLAY IS IMPORTANT
- to stimulate the SENSES ~ when multiple sensory stimuli are being triggered they spur the development of new synapses within a developing brain
- to promote cognitive growth
- to strengthen fine motor control
- to spur creative play
- to promote language development
- to increase focus and attention
Have you tried homemade BABY TASTE-SAFE sensory paint? Leave a comment!
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