Yesterday was Father’s day, The first of Mr Awesome and Baby Awesome’s special daddy and son days with many more to come. We had a wonderful family day, where daddy and son wore matching t-shirts, we went on a family meal and decided to try our first ever crafting activity with The Eskimini.
As Baby Awesome’s manual dexterity amounts to mushing things into his face to see if they are tasty (and then eating them completely indiscriminately of whether they are or not), this was going to have to be an activity where he could lend a whole fist or foot to the activity, so we decided on footprints, made into fishies. And as there is nothing more tasty than baby toes to a super-flexible baby, I made a batch of cornflour-based paint, made only with food cupboard ingredients, just in case he got it in his mouth at any point.
There are a few recipes for various types of food-based paints on the internet, including ones using cornflour, however, I haven’t seen one that works in quite the same way as the one that I use, and this is the one that suits me best. It takes around 2-3 minutes to make, because babies and toddlers are impatient. You’ll need:
- cornflour 1-2 tablespoons
- food colouring*
- microwave and microwaveable pot/container
- Spoon to mix
*A note on colouring choice: I used Dr Oetker’s gel food colouring with no artificial colour, but the paste food colourings (Wiltons, etc) tend to give a stronger colour: some use artificial colourants, some do not. All are food safe but you should make your own choice on whether you want artificial colourants or not. I would have used them if I’d seen them as they give a stronger colour and I was not intending for them to be consumed… I used edible ingredients only as a precaution. Finger-painting and similar activities would more likely result in some making it’s way into the mouth.
- Measure 1tbsp of cornflour into a microwaveable pot
- Add 1tbsp of water and mix until smooth
- Add 3tbsp of boiling water from the kettle, stirring briskly as you add each
- Check consistency. If the paint is too runny, put in the microwave for two seconds. Yes, just 2 seconds. remove and stir. Repeat a few times until you have a thick paste. You may be tempted to microwave for five seconds at a time. Really, don’t do that, as you’ll end up with something resembling a hockey puck. Once the mixture has become thick, or if a small lump has formed, stir briskly until smooth. If it is too thick for your purposes, add small amounts of water until your desired consistency is achieved, stirring all the time.
- Divide into small pots if needed and add food colouring. I added the whole little tube, but you’ll need less of the more concentrated colours.
Once the paint is ready, make sure it is cool enough to used. It may thicken slightly more on cooling, in which case add a little more water and stir. Obviously this recipe could be scaled up, but I only wanted a little paint for this quick activity.
The next things you need are some bits of card, folded to make greetings cards (or buy them ready-made if you are lazy, like me), a baby, your paint, a sponge and something to put them all on. Yo can buy special little mats for toddler activities, but I decided to but a shower curtain for maximum coverage: we use it for meal times, too, to catch all the bits that the catch-all bibs don’t catch. I bought an Innaren Shower Curtain from Ikea for £1.50 and it is serving us well.
Once you have assembled all of the bits on the mat, including baby (you may want to start that first, as they often take about 9 months to complete), get busy with the sponge, dabbing your concoction all over the cute little foot. I thought Baby Awesome might squirm at this, but instead he sat quietly and just seemed curious as to why i was painting his feet orange.
Now to press the foot onto the card. We tried a few methods for this: baby standing on the card, rolling the foot over the card… but the way that best worked for us and our particular baby, was to hold the foot still and press the card to the food whilst he was sitting down. This provided us with the clearest prints with least smudging.
Once dry, I added a few details with a Sharpie marker, to make the little footprints into goldfish, making eight cute little cards from Baby Awesome’s first craft activity!