Never too young to create.
Like many of you, I spent much of my Christmas morning hunched over an 1100-watt Ninja food processor. But not for the reason you think. Truth is, I may have actually been the inspiration for the old Henny Yougman bit, “My wife said to me, “For our anniversary, I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before.” I said, “Try the kitchen!’
I was prepping edible organic baby paints, so I could have my first go at an “art lesson” with my niece Jamie’s 7-month-old baby girl. Nervous at first — thinking she just might bail once her baby fingers got immersed in chilly goo — I asked baby’s Mom and Aunt Stacey to be my wing men. We quickly determined it’s a three person job — one to hold baby, one to hold the drawing pad, and one to dip and then direct baby’s hands onto the paper.
We had a blast.
Our project was to color a Christmas wreath we downloaded from the web. It was easy to find a simple black and white image, which I printed on matte paper. The rest is up to the artist. While it’s helpful to guide her little hands into the paint cup, and then onto the paper, you’ll find she might just like the feel of it. It’s a fantastic tactile experience. Smiling ear to ear, Mickey explored and expressed. She became the perfect picture of fearlessness.
Safe and natural: homemade yogurt paints.
The biggest concern for any parent is the safety of the products that can easily end up in a child’s mouth. That’s just a given. But the surefire way to ensure natural, non-toxic ingredients is to choose and mix them yourself. These paint recipes are so simple it’s embarrassing. For RED, Add a cup of yogurt to a half can of beets, and blend. For GREEN, take a bag of baby spinach leaves and blend with yogurt, and do the same with thawed frozen blueberries for a purpley-blue.
Making a Mess: A Rite of Passage, and a leg up on learning.
YES, expect a mess. But know that child development research tells us “messy play” for babies and toddlers is actually “crucial to healthy sensory development.” Experts say these messy moments “provide important building blocks, sensory experiences, muscle and brain growth – all of which prepares them for later success.”
But enough about finger painting as a teaching tool. Let’s talk about what really counts: how it evokes PURE JOY. And I’m not just referring to the baby. Twenty minutes of unbridled art making — with no rules, no agenda — makes for my own perfect day.
Any flavor yogurt (1 cup per color)
Green paint: Fresh Spinach
Red paint: Canned Beets
Blue Paint: Frozen/thawed Blueberries
Orange Paint: Canned Carrots
Matte paper – or watercolor pad
Blender and small containers with lids to hold the “fresh paint” (refrigerate)
Hefty bag to protect your floor