Here is an edible, quick-prep, low-cost activity you can whip up on a rainy day, that will make your frugal heart go pitter patter, and keep your grand artists entertained for a while.
The Things You Need
- food coloring
- big marshmallows
The Things You Do
- You can cover your work space if you want, but my fabulous “distressed” table doesn’t mind a little milk. Don’t use newspaper, it will get gooey and yucky, try tin foil or parchment paper.
- You need something to put your colors in, like bowls or little cups, or in our case a plastic container from fancy pants eggs.
- Cut some straws in half, and some of those in half again. We cut eight straws.
- Put some milk in your container, we used about a tablespoon.
- Add a drop or two of food coloring to your milk. red + yellow = orange. red + blue = purple. blue + yellow = green. Give or take.
- We stirred our colors with our straws.
- Give each child some jumbo marshmallows. Save the bag. They can use the little ones but they’re harder for tiny hands to manipulate. Each kid was good and only ate one marshmallow. Mom may have tried more than one, just to check the quality of our ingredients.
- Use a paper towel to wipe off the excess color from your brush, not water, so you don’t dilute your color anymore. You can see it’s already very liquid and gives you a tie-dye effect.
- Let the kidlets paint happily with a paintbrush. They can do this on foam trays, on cookie sheets, or just on the table.
- Once they’ve done this for a little bit show them how to use the sticks to create shapes. It’s easiest to twist the straws in. They will get sticky.
- If they’re little enough you can make this into a lesson about shapes, how many sides does it have, how do you make it, etc.
- If you want to extend this you can bring out more foods like toast and popcorn to paint more. My kids worked on this for over an hour with no additional prompting.
- We left ours to dry on cookie sheets. They took over an hour and they were stuck, so I had to turn them.
- Once they were dry we put them in the bag we saved to play with tomorrow (they will be sticky).
- The next day you can play more by making a thicker base with condensed milk and corn starch, for stamping with them or fingerpainting.
- If you really want the kids to vibrate you can melt chocolate and dip them in there.
Mothers of multiple small children know why I have this many food coloring bottles. We had both regular and neon colors.
Here are the colors the 5 year old made, she could squeeze the color herself.
The set up for painting. Far be it from me to point out that the pan could be closer.
They were using the long straws as handles.
3 year old painting with 70s colors.
No, this child has never worn clothes in here entire life, and yes, she did get it on her tummy.
Making a square. Then back to painting.
Preschooler’s masterpieces in 70s colors.
I tried to make Olaf with my food decorator pens but they were too dry.
I can’t really give original credit for this, we’ve been doing this for a while. I bet Pinterest made me do it.
I would guess I got these from these sites, which I frequent (lurk on):
Food Painting Activity for Kids from Fabulessly Frugal
How to Build a Jumbo Marshmallow Tower from Kids Activities Blog
If you want to be really brave you can make your own marshmallows first. However, candy making is not something little ones can help with for the whole process, you have to be careful with the molten-sugar hot stuff.
Fluffy Vanilla Marshmallows from The Kitchn with lots of tips and photos (I actually have done this one and they came out awesome)
Healthy/Real Food Marshmallows from The Wellness Mama
What was the last craft you did with food?
*Also see our
Valentine’s Day Dyed Eggs OR
The Early Bird Gets the Worm Game
We hope you enjoyed our Crafty Edible Marshmallows you Paint and Build With