Messy play · Sensory Play

Puffy Paint

A couple of weeks ago I wanted to do something really messy, just for fun, and so decided to do this:

This basically involved spraying some shaving foam into the tuff spot and adding a variety of coloured ice cubes (made using a 1:1 mixture of water:food colouring). The idea was just to make a mess, and I was interested in seeing what they made of it; I hadn’t really planned for anything more!

I let them freely explore the foam, and they enjoyed mixing in the colours that seeped out of the ice cubes as they melted. They used both their hands and their feet, enjoying the colours, the smell, the contrast between the freezing cold ice and the warm shaving foam. E was not too keen really, and quickly gave up, but A had a great time and I’m sure she would have played on for hours. She enjoyed mixing and sliding, mark-making and scooping, and, as always, the tea set came out. She cooked some “food” and served some “tea”. It was amazing watching her so engrossed in it for so long.

Just before bathtime she asked if she could paint a picture using the creation in the tuff spot. I gave her some paper and let her try, but the result was so faint that it could barely be seen. It did, however, leave me wondering whether it would be possible to make a puffy shaving foam picture that could actually be seen.

As luck would have it, a couple of weeks later my friend actually sent me a puffy paint tutorial. It looked amazing and I was so desperate to try it, so that is what we did today! As E was not so keen last time I decided to set it up while he was napping. It is so simple to make: all you need is shaving foam, PVA glue, and paint (the method I followed actually used food colouring, but after our previous play I decided that paint might give a more vibrant result, so tried that instead). I just estimated the amounts really: an approximately 1:1 ratio of PVA: paint, and then as much shaving foam as possible, without diluting the colour too much.

I joined in with this activity with A as it looked so much fun! A didn’t quite get the idea though, preferring to try to paint a normal flat picture, and getting quite annoyed with it as it wasn’t “what we normally used”; she did appreciate the smell of the paint though, and enjoyed helping me make it! I, on the other hand, thought it was amazing, though as you can see from the results below, am clearly not an artist!

The best thing about this paint is how it dries – it leaves a spongy picture which actually springs back when pressed! It is so much fun! It is definitely an activity that I would like to revisit in the future when A might appreciate it more. I also think it would be interesting to try making it with food colouring next time, as the method suggested, just for a comparison!


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