To make homemade body paint, gather lotion, cornstarch, food coloring (or children's non-toxic washable paint) and mixing bowls. I mixed one tablespoon of lotion and two tablespoons of cornstarch together. The ratio is two parts cornstarch to one part lotion.
Mix the lotion and corstarch together until the mixture is smooth and there are no clumps. You can also add a few drops of an essential oil to create another dimension to the activity. You may need to add a bit more lotion if the mixture is too hard or more cornstarch if the mixture is too wet. The mixture should not be too stiff or too runny.
Next, add a few drops of food coloring and mix. You can also use children's non-toxic washable paints.
You may need to add more food coloring if you desire a deeper hue.
Repeat the process to create more colors.
Use a paintbrush or your fingers to apply the paint. Sophia really enjoyed the sensation of having someone paint her body.
Once I was done painting, Sophia wanted to paint her legs. She started with a paint brush and then moved onto painting with her fingers. At one point, I saw her scoop up and rub a handful of paint over her leg.
If the paint begins to dry, add more lotion until the mixture has a smooth and creamy consistency once again.
Sophia was enjoying herself so much that I decided to join in on the fun. My daughter loved decorating my feet and legs. Once the body paint started to dry, it began to crack. We didn't notice this at first since we were too busy dancing around the house. Even though we weren't able to create intricate designs with this paint, it was such an amazing sensory experience from start to finish. Messy play allows children to explore their world by using their senses (especially their sense of touch) while contributing to cognitive and creative development.
And, although cornstarch helps to keep the skin from absorbing the food coloring, it took a nice long soak in the tub to finally remove all of the color completely from our skin.