Flour and food color painting in preschool

I am always on the look out for different art mediums that the children can explore. The children enjoyed the new texture of this homemade “paint” their teacher mixed up.

The teacher mixed up some flour and water in a large bowl until it had a creamy consistency.

Each of the children had a large paper towel to use as their paint canvas and a paper cup to hold their flour paint.

The children then chose a food color they wanted added to their flour and water mixture then mixed up the food coloring and flour then dipped it out on their paper towel.

They used paint brushes to spread the flour paint all over the paper towels. There was no agenda regarding an end result. This was all about exploration.

The children took their time exploring this new art medium and the unusual canvas. Some children decided they wanted to use their hands as well but most of them enjoyed using the paint brushes.

I loved all the pretty colors!

By |2010-08-29T06:00:33+00:00August 29th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Amy M August 29, 2010 at 2:59 am - Reply

    I do have a quick question about activities such as this. I understand that it is about the process. My question is what do you do with the end result? I am thinking in this case that this does not dry.. So you cannot hang it or send it home correct? Do you throw it away after the children leave? (after recording a photo?) Just wondering. 🙂 Thanks.

    • Deborah J. Stewart August 29, 2010 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Hi Amy,
      This is a great question. We simply throw this away when the children are all done. We do many “throw-away” art activities and we do many “take-home” art activities as well. By blending both into our program we don’t get so focused on making everything look cute rather we focus on processes children will enjoy. Sometimes, in an activity such as this, we set them out on the table and at the end of the day so the parents can come in and take a look at what the children did.

      The children know it is too messy to take home and that we will throw it away so we can do it again. I tell the children “Wasn’t that fun? Let’s clean up our beautiful mess so we can do this again some day!” The children are more excited about doing it again rather than all hung up on taking it home.

      Another way we approach this is by making it a large group activity. All the children finger paint or explore on one large sheet of paper. The children do not seem too concerned with taking something like this home – they were more interested in just the experience that it offered.

      I hope this helps!

      • Tonya (@LiteracyCounts) August 29, 2010 at 5:50 pm

        Amy – When the teachers with whom I work do these type of projects, I suggest taking photos when you can… this way the children and parents have a concrete documentation of their experience. I use this same philosophy when children create block/lege structures that they can’t take home :). Another variation is to have children draw pictures of their experience…just another way of documenting because we know that most of what children learn/experience in preschool can’t be sent home in their backpack 🙂

      • Amy M August 30, 2010 at 7:54 am

        Thank you for the terrific explanation. I really open-ended projects.

  2. Teacher Tom August 29, 2010 at 11:34 am - Reply

    I’m actually guessing, Amy, that this does dry, since it’s essentially a simple paper mache paste. I could image that it would be fun to build some sort of frame from balloons, chicken wire or something else, upon which to affix these paper towel creations, let it dry and you’ll have a communal sculpture!

    Deborah, I can also imagine that it would be fun to let the kids mix the paste. We did a similar thing with powdered tempera paint awhile back, then used basic masonry tools to spread it on a large piece of cardboard. It dried into an amazing, thick, textured piece of art. =)

    • Deborah J. Stewart August 29, 2010 at 11:49 am - Reply

      You know Tom – this was our first time trying this and I never thought of what else I can do with it – definitely will bring it out again for additional creating. I agree, I think the children would enjoy mixing the flour and water too 🙂

  3. Tonya (@LiteracyCounts) August 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    What a wonderfule ideas. Too often we all get caught up in art projects that have an end result so it’s important to have these type of exploratory projects. Did any of the children mix the colors? That would have been cool too!

  4. jess September 5, 2010 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    i make this and put in like bbq sause bottle (i grap at dollar store ) and make puff paint . i also do this on cardboard and it does dry so they can take home if desire . thanks i love your site

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