Messy play – finger painting with jelly

I want to do more messy play activities with Frida. I often have good intentions but don’t get round to it, or choose to do something less, well, messy.

Inspired by some charming photos online of similar aged babies doing finger painting, I thought we would give it a go with some edible “paint” made out of half-set jelly. I should start by saying that I still think this would work quite nicely as an activity, which is why I am sharing the idea, but it did not work very well for us!

I set up the activity on her little table rather than at the dining table where she eats all of her meals with us, as I wanted to differentiate this from eating. I covered the table with paper stuck down with masking tape and placed a little ramekin of the jelly mix in front of her.

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As you can see from the photos she had a lovely time, but was far more interested in trying to drink the mixture and suck the sugary dish. In retrospect I could have guessed that would happen! The jelly was too runny – I admit I was getting impatient and took it out of the fridge too early – so it went everywhere when spilt. Because jelly is so sweet it was very appealing, I think we might have had more luck with a blander liquid. We did this just before lunchtime so I think Frida was even keener to eat the mix than she might have been had we done it when she was full and contented.

She had fun though and I am sure (I hope?!) she took something from the activity. This was also the first time she had used her table and she sat really well at it, which is nice to know as it means I can now give her more table-based activities.

Next time I think I will try and make her some more traditional cornfour and food dye paint and see if that is more successful as it will be thicker and less tasty!

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