Edible Art

Sensory experiences are great for little ones. Young children need to smell, touch, feel, taste and hear a variety of things in order to learn about the world. Here's a fun, artistic activity that stimulates their brains and senses while allowing them to take part in some of their favorite other activities: making messes and eating!

Find a good place to do this activity where clean up will be easy. My favorite spots for this are the bathtub (empty or filled, I get in with them if it's filled) or a high chair with a tablecloth or sheet underneath.

Now you'll need:
A packet of instant oatmeal or a half cup of any dry oatmeal (or instant baby cereal)
a small bowl
a small cup with water or juice
a plate for a palette
an assortment of baby safe, colorful foods like thawed blueberries and strawberries (they're mushier than fresh), mashed banana, or even some baby cereal mixed with juice to tint. Use foods appropriate for your child's age that you know he has no allergies to.

Now comes the hard part for you and the easy part for them. Show them how to mix the water into the oatmeal and mix it and then mush, taste, mix and smear the various foods. Since everything has a slightly different texture, shape, color, scent, and consistency it can be great fun for little ones. Blueberries roll (for little ones, you may want to flatten these further) and strawberries make a fabulous red paint. Oatmeal is delightfully mushy and tastes great too. Mixing colors and tastes yields even more discoveries!

If you do this in the bath, just hose off baby afterwards. Oatmeal is one of the best things out there to soften skin and it's also wonderfully healthy. My 14 month old had no interest at all in eating oatmeal till I let her paint with it! Now it's one of her favorite foods.

And yeah it's amazingly messy. But hey, they're only little for a little while and my goodness is it fun for them. Besides, you might end up sneaking in some pretty healthy snacks!

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All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
Don't take it - that would be rude.