What are your favorite natural art supplies for babies?

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Photo by César Rincón, used under Creative Commons license.
I’d love to start working on painting projects with my daughter, but I’m a little stumped.

Ideally I’d be able to either buy or make natural and/or food-based paint, but I’m not sure where to start. I’m also curious about possible project ideas for an infant.

Artsy parents: where did you get your natural art supplies, and what kind of projects does your baby like doing? — Sally

Comments on What are your favorite natural art supplies for babies?

    • Great find Amy!! I made playdough like the “fav recipe” on this blog when my kiddo was a toddler and we had lots of fun with it. I’m going ga-ga over the lavender play-dough!!

  1. Pudding! Get vanilla pudding and food coloring and “paint” on waxed paper.

    Related: when my daughter was about 3, she would spend hours and hours outside mixing and dumping colored water. It was the cheapest form of entertainment, and she learned all about color mixing. Very fun.

  2. Waldorf art suppliers (such as Waldorf Treasures at http://waldorftreasures.com/artsupplies/artsupplies.htm ) are usually made of natural “ingredients” — Lyra and Stockmar are the brands to look for. All-natural beeswax is a ton of fun for little kids — but it needs to be warmed up before it’s easy to manipulate (not in a stove or anything, just by warmer grown-up hands).

    That said, you mention an infant — even though the beeswax is awesome and smells great, and is all-natural, it’s not really for human baby consumption! I would recommend just letting your baby explore different textures, which they love — the sticky side of contact paper (older babies can stick bits of paper to the sticky side, then you put a backing of solid paper over the whole things and flip it around to display their picture), feeling flour, beans, macaroni, sandpaper, other textures (watch really closely so they don’t put small things in their mouths).

    A big favorite at the preschool I worked at was colored coolwhip (ok, its barely a food … but safer than ingesting finger paint!) — just whirl some foodcoloring into it, and let baby smear it on paper; they like the texture.

    This doesn’t create permanent art — but toddlers love paint brushes and water; you can give them big ones and let them paint fences, cars, side of the house, etc.

    Also, chalk is good for small children. Again, they shouldn’t eat it, but it’s not the most deathly substance a toddler will put into his mouth at some point!

    If you make your own play dough (salt, flour, water), again, it’s not meant to be eaten, but it’s not the end of the world if your child ingests it. Or you could try this intendible-edible recipe: http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/edible-playdough-recipe/

  3. We’ve made clay with peanut butter and flour; works pretty well and when they inevitably put it in their mouth; its no biggie; but you can’t do that till they’re like 4 because of the allergy concern. When she was younger tho my daughters favorite natural art supply seemed to be poo.
    -sorry for the gross over-share-

  4. We just used regular baby food for my daughter. We sat her down on a tarp naked with a deviled egg dish full of different flavors so she could eat and play at the same time. It was a big hit when she was between seven and eighteen months. After that, when she was more verbal, we started using non-toxic fingerpaints (storebought) when we could explain to her why she shouldn’t eat them.

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