Like most cool things I want to buy or try I saw the mess-free finger painting idea on Pinterest. We already had some Ziploc bags in the cupboard and some thick paper in the study so all I had to do was grab some poster paint.
I cut the paper to size, blobbed on the paint, slipped it in the bag and then encouraged Melie to ‘paint’.
We Made a Card!
I drew a chameleon over her finished abstract art piece. It makes a cute picture to give to a family member (with or without a drawing on top) but we turned it into a card for Stuart’s first Father’s Day. Inside the card we wrote – “You’re one in a chameleon!” as a play on the words “You’re one in a million”. This would also be great idea for a Mother’s Day card, Birthday card or any type of card really.
You could draw any animal over the top and use different paint colours and a cheesy phrase to make lots of different cards. How about these:
Elephant – Blue, Green & White – “You’re Elephantastic!”
Dinosaur – Green, Red, Yellow – “Your’e Dino-mite!”
Lion – Red, Yellow & Brown – “You’re Roar-some!”
Rabbit – Grey & Purple & White – “No Bunny Like You!”
Owl – Brown, Yellow & Orange – “Owl Always Love You!!”
Whale – Blue, Green & Grey – “Get Whale Soon!”
Here are Some Tips…
This is probably a no brainer but I’m going to mention it anyway: WATCH your child like a hawk when they are doing this and any of the others I mention below. If they are young, you do not want them to swallow anything they shouldn’t or get stuff everywhere when you’ve designed it to be a no-mess activity. The idea is that you seal the bag up really well so you are the only one that touches the things inside. I suggest also putting tape over the resealable part as a secondary safety measure.
Try putting the bag in different locations. We tried it taped to the highchair, taped to the floor and taped to the window (you could also use a wall). Amelia wasn’t really that fussed about the activity until it was on the window but some babies might love it on the floor whilst doing tummy time. Others might like it on their highchair if they are used to banging the highchair tray.
I used sellotape to tape the bag down because I didn’t have anything else but painters’ tape or masking tape would be better as it doesn’t leave that sticky residue and won’t damage surfaces.
When drawing over the paint, I used a black sharpie but it was really hard to see on the dark blue paint! Depending on the colours you use, you might want to use a white pen or even metallic silver/gold to really make the drawing pop.
Use water based poster paint and then wash the bags out once your done. This way you can reuse them again for more mess-free finger painting fun or some of the other activities below. Then there’s less waste!
10 Other Resealable Bag Activities for Kids of All Ages
Okay, so as promised here are 10 other activities using resealable bags for all different ages. I haven’t tried any of these yet so my apologies if they’re not that great. I aim to try some out but if you beat me to it, let me know how they went in the comments section below.
1) Lava Lamp Bag
Using oil, some homemade neon water colours and a black light torch you can create these crazy looking bags that resemble a lava lamp. The instructions for the Lava Lamp Sensory bag are here.
2) I-Spy Bag
The Solar System I-Spy Busy bag would be an awesome activity for older kids and there are plenty of ways you could adapt it for younger kids. For example hiding pictures of farmyard animals or different types of food.
3) Writing Bag
A bit of shaving cream coloured with food dye plus a cotton bud makes for a fun way to practice writing letters and numbers in this Writing Bag activity.
4) Chilled Watermelon Sensory Bag
This brightly coloured sensory bag looks just like a watermelon. Simply pop it in the fridge to cool and bring it out for a fun activity on a hot summer’s day. It’s pretty easy to make – check out how to here.
5) Season Bags
Using hair gel and different food colouring you could make a set of bags that represent Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
6) Beach or Pebble Bag
Shells and pebbles are a beautiful part of nature however they’re also something you probably don’t want your baby to put in their mouth. By making a beach or pebble bag they can look and touch whilst you explain what’s inside.
7) Bean in a Bag
This is something I would actually find fascinating! Grow a bean (or other seeds) in a bag taped to your window. To make it look a bit prettier cut out a frame to go around the bag like the example below.
8) Ziploc Bag Water Cycle
This is a great way for older kids to visualise the water cycle.
9) Ocean Bag
This ocean inspired sensory bag is just too beautiful not to share. The key is finding realistic looking plastic figures but they shouldn’t be too hard to find at a dollar shop.
It would be great as a table piece for a themed party or as a fun interactive toy to play with whilst watching Finding Nemo or The Little Mermaid.
10) Sun Catcher Bag
I feel like this sun catcher bag is a great way for babies to get a good look at flowers without eating them!
It would also be a fun activity with older children as you can send them on a scavenger hunt in your garden to find flowers or leave to include in the bag. You could challenge them to find a white flower, a round leaf, a blade of grass etc.
I think I actually enjoyed mess-free finger painting more than Melie but we’ll try it again when she’s a bit older! Of course, there’ll be time for messy play too but I also now have a bunch of things no-mess things to try. This will be particularly useful when I don’t want to spend longer cleaning up than her actually doing the activity!
What do you think of mess-free finger painting? Have you tried it?