Food coloring is one of the staples of fun and activities around here. We use it to make crafts, paint and art supplies – and you can find a few boxes in the pantry at all times. Neon, regular and custom colors you can find at Michaels can be used to create any color you can imagine.
It’s nearing the end of March Break and coming up on Easter. If you’ve run out of things to do and have a box of food coloring lying around, there are plenty of activities you can try.
Ten Frugal and Fun Ways to Use Food Coloring
Shaving Cream Paint for the Bath | It’s nice outside, but if you are looking for a bit of indoor fun you can combine a couple of drops of food coloring with about a cup of shaving cream (foam not gel) and create bath tub paint that comes off of the walls with ease and that can occupy toddlers and young kids for upwards of an hour as they paint rainbows on the walls.
Tip: Use multiple paintbrushes to prolong the color
Snow Spraypaint | Food coloring and a dollar spray bottle from the home section of your local store (or reused bottles that you have lying around the house) can transform the afternoon outside. We’ve been lucky to have some great weather combined with snow on the ground, giving you the perfect opportunity to get out there and create in the snow.
Tip: If you are using reusable bottles, make sure to rinse them out first
Dawn, Milk and Colored Drops | What do you get when you combine a bowl of milk, a few drops of dish detergent and color? You get an exciting way to play with colors. You can use droppers to disperse the food coloring and use the opportunity to teach about colors, mixing and have some fun in the process.
Colored Ice Cubes | Perfect for infants that are learning to grab onto items but equally as fun for toddlers and children is an activity where you created colored ice cubes and combine them with a sink full of water. I’ve never tried this in the bath because I would be afraid of staining the bath tub if you were using more than a handful of ice, but in the kitchen sink it works great. It’s a fun way to sort, collect and place with the ice before it melts.
Tip: Be prepared to get some color on the hands
Colored Pasta Beads | What do you get when you combine a Ziploc bag full of pasta, a few drops of food coloring and a drop of alcohol? Pasta that you can use to create bright colored necklaces, glue to paper and create a fun afternoon. Combine the ingredients in a bag, mix and let sit for about ninety minutes to dry on a tray or pan.
Tip: Neon colors work really, really well for this activity.
Food Coloring Straw Art | Get out a painting shirt and some cardstock – and get ready to create some art. One of our favorite activities is to put a few drops of the food coloring (3-4 in the same place) and use a few colors on the page. Before it dries, let the kids use a straw to blow the colors and create some fun artwork that looks really, really great in a frame.
Tip: Blow fast!
Cool Whip/Pudding Finger Painting | Want to make Finger paint that’s going to be fun and safe to eat? Use cool whip, make your own whipped cream or pudding to create a fun way to spend the afternoon. Use 1-2 drops of food coloring per cup of mix to create food art that’s going to easily wash off the hands.
Tip: Don’t worry about the Mess
Mixing Colors with Shaving Cream Trays | Take a baking pan (preferably tin foil disposable pans) and cover it completely with about a half inch of shaving cream. Use three or four colors of choice of the kid completing the project and drop them in various spots around the tray. Watch as they mix together to create fun swirls and eventually brand new colors on the tray.
Tip: Use a straw or stick to mix until colors have been dispersed to avoid hand-stains
DIY Hair Color | For fair haired kids, food coloring is easily made into a temporary (3-4 washes) dye. To create fun hair, we use the leftovers in the spray bottles from the snow paint and add a few more drops to make the color a bit more vibrant. Wear gloves, your hands are going to get colored from doing it and make sure that the child is wearing an old shirt. Use a hair dryer to dry the hair and avoid getting color everywhere.
Tip: It’s a bit messy, but so fun!
Tye-Dye Paper Towels | Get out some of your favorite paper towel. The thicker the paper towel, the better it’s going to work. Spray the paper towel with water, or quickly rinse under the tap until it’s damp. Use a paint brush with colored water or drop the food coloring directly on to the paper towel (with a cloth or tray underneath) to create fun, tye dye patterns when the towels are left to try.
Tip: Bounty works great for This
What are some of your easy, frugal ways to keep kids occupied?