We had so much fun with our raised salt painting, watching the reaction of the paint as it mixed with the salt, so I knew R(4) would just love the transformations that take place with puffy paint. This activity has it all – art, math, science and sensory play. Can’t ask for more than that!
There are a few different recipes for puffy paint, some which call for self-raising flour, some which call for plain flour mixed with baking powder. I opted for a recipe shared at Two Happy Homemakers which called for plain flour and baking powder. Of course self-raising flour is just plain flour with baking powder added to it, but I thought that having to add the baking powder ourselves might add a fun science experiment to this activity.
DIY MICROWAVE PUFFY PAINT RECIPE
- 1 tblsp plain flour
- 1 tblsp salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 tblsp plus 1 tsp of water
- food colouring
Mix all the ingredients together. Paint onto paper. Put the painting into the microwave for 20 seconds. Do not leave the microwave unattended during that time. Carefully remove the painting and observe the wonderful transformation! Be careful – the paint may be hot when it is removed from the microwave.
NOTE: We were not very precise with our measurements. R measured the ingredients himself and we weren’t too fussed if we had a slightly heaped tablespoon or if we were slightly under with the measurements. We also found the mixture very thick so we added more water. If you would like to include math within this activity, then be accurate with your measurements and talk about quantities and capacity. You could even count the number of times you stir the mixture.
We made six batches of the puffy paint recipe, adding one batch to each hole in a muffin tin. It’s hard to see, but the above picture shows the science component of this activity. When we added the water to the mixture, there was a chemical reaction between the baking powder, salt and water. The mixture began fizzing and bubbling the same way that baking powder and vinegar react with one another.
Once we were happy with the consistency of the puffy paint, we began adding colours. This is always R’s favourite part of any art or cooking activity.
Mixing, mixing. So much messy fun!
The colours were so bright and happy. We experimented with mixing colours and combined red and yellow to make orange, and we mixed green and blue to make aqua (although it looks like dark green in the photo).
Even though we added more water than was listed in the recipe, the paint was still very thick. If we do this again we will probably add more water so it is easier to work with. It was fun though trying out something with a texture we haven’t worked with before.
Waiting patiently by the microwave.
R was fascinated with the transformation. This added a wonderful sensory element to this art activity We also talked about the science behind the puffy paint, discussing why reaction had occurred.
This was a definite hit with R and we’ll be sure to do this one again. There were just so many dimensions to this activity from creating the paint, watching the baking powder reaction, colour mixing, painting, and finally “cooking” our pictures and seeing the paint become puffy. Playing, learning, creating. That’s what it’s all about!
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