5 Fun Ways to Play with Food Coloring!

Artsy Dinos

One of the better things about being quarantined at home due to Covid-19 is that I get to spend more time with Bubba, plus I've been slowly cleaning and organizing. While I was clearing out the kitchen, I found some expired food coloring.So why not play with it instead? Here are 5 easy and fun activities that we did the last couple weeks! Love that these are simple to do with stuff you probably already have at home!

Check out our YouTube video for these activities in action!  Follow us on Instagram @artsydinos for more craft fun!

Lotion Painting

Lotion and food coloring painting

Need: White lotion, food coloring, paint brush or craft pom-poms/cotton balls and wax paper

Simplicity is so sweet. Bubba had a great time mixing food coloring with lotion and was so amused by making his own "paint". First, we practiced mixing colors into the different blobs of lotion. His favorite was how the blue and green mixed into turquoise! I love how bright the colors turn out to be. 

Lotion painting for kids Painting with pom poms

I then taped down some wax paper (waxy side up) and drew simple designs on them for him to paint. He started with a paint brush but then we switched to pom poms to get a fun dot effect! Use cotton balls if you don't have pom poms for the same fun texture!

Wave in a Bottle

Wave ina bottle

wave in a bottle

Need: Plastic water bottle, water, food coloring, glitter (different sizes for fun) and baby oil or vegetable oil.

wave bottle ingredients

Bubba is SO proud of his wave in a bottle! He shows everyone we Zoom chat with his experiment, proudly exclaiming "the water and oil don't mix!". 

For this one, we filled the water slightly more than half way with water, added a few drops of food coloring of his choice, glitter and then oil. We also added some little foam balls from his slime kit, but these end up just floating to the top - didn't really add much to it. For the glitter, we used different sizes we add just for fun!

We used vegetable oil for this, though wish we had a clear baby oil instead!

You can seal the cap with a glue gun if you're worried about your little ones getting the cap off!

Ice Block

ice block with toys

Need: Good sized tupper ware, about 10-15 little plastic toys, food coloring

ice block ingredients

This is another fan favorite - we've literally done it every day his week with just varying the color that goes into it.

For this activity, fill a tupper ware with water (as tall as you want). Add a few drops of food coloring - practice mixing colors! The colors will all blend together at the end. Throw in some fun little plastic toys (we use little dinos of course) and freeze overnight. You can designate a 'special' toy if you're playing with multiple kids and whoever finds it, wins!

food coloring ice block  ice block

Once frozen, go outside, flip your container around to get the block out and throw it around! The food coloring in the ice makes it look really cool (the turquoise looks like glass!) and adds a bit of an extra challenge to find the toys inside. I tried giving Bubba a fork to try chip away at the ice, but he couldn't quite get that (4 years old). So we took turns dropping the block and subsequent pieces til we got all our toys out. 

Jello Block

Jello block

Need: Good sized tupperware, about 10-15 little plastic toys, unflavored gelatin, food coloring

This is the indoor version of the ice block and such a fun texture activity.

For this activity, follow your gelatin instructions to mix the gelatin with hot water to make the gelatin mixture (this was really hot so I did all the mixing). Add the food coloring, stir some more! Carefully, put the toys in and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to set!

jello texture activity

Once it's set, take out your jello block! We left it in the tupper ware as I couldn't knock it out like you can with the ice block. Bubba was really amused with the texture of it as he poked it initially. But, he soon decided it was too cold (I should have probably let it sit outside for about 30 minutes) and we used tongs instead. He really enjoyed playing dinosaurs IN the jello as he stirred them around. Once he was done playing, he used his tongs to move them to a bowl - great for practicing motor skills! 

Color Cloud

color cloud

Need: Tall glass vase or jar, water. oil or shaving cream, food coloring

rain cloud

This one was more amusing to me than for Bubba as it required some patience! Fill your jar/vase (taller the better) with water to almost the top. Put some shaving cream or a thin layer of oil on the top. The food coloring doesn't dissolve in either and sinks through and explodes into the water in pretty streaks of color! So pretty! If you're using shaving cream, you can relate it to a cloud filling with water until the color becomes rain!


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