The beginning of September has brought lots of fresh faces to the Nest all of whom I am pleased to say are settling well. After chatting to each child’s parents, a common theme amongst them was their child puts everything in their mouth; food, sand, food, paint, food, toys! As a result I have experimented with different activity ideas to extend my messy play repertoire... Edible Finger paint seemed the excellent mix (no pun intended) of messy play and mark making with the added bonus that it is safe to eat and included all natural ingredients. My idea was to use a variety of fruit or vegetables that would add their colour to the mixture giving us an array of coloured paints. Blackberries were an obvious choice for the vast quantity that have appeared around nursery in recent ‘blackberry picking expedition’ weeks. When mixed with flour and water (wheat free due to allergies) this made a delicious purple colour, however not as tasty as it looked! My next choice was beetroot, however after careful consideration, I decided sending pink stained babies home wasn't the best idea, so opted for the juice from an orange.
The process of making the paint turned out to be just as fascinating for the children as the finished product. Sitting on the floor ladened with bowls, whisks, water, flour (extra flour for when the previous flour was tipped over the floor) and fruit, we got to work. The children laughed with delight as flour was sprinkled from a height in to the bowl, I added the fruit and water encouraging the children to use their whisks or hands to mix, stir and squeeze. Making this for the first time I was pleasantly surprised at how well the colour took and will definitely be repeating this activity with other ingredients.
It was now time for the messy part! I poured each mixture in turn onto the table and placed a variety of brushes alongside letting the children choose how, and if they would like to take part. Each child adopted a different approach, some got stuck in with both hands moving them in random motions across the table, one child picked up a brush making circular motions and another used one finger then looked slightly disgusted! Mark making is important for many reasons; as children develop it may be used to tell stories or express feelings, write or draw a picture and sometimes it is just an outlet for pure physical enjoyment. Babies’ random movements, whether in paint or with a crayon, will develop as they gradually realise they can take control of the marks they make. By providing children with a variety of mark making opportunities can help them develop imaginatively, creatively and physically.
Please try this at home!