Looking for a taste-safe alternative to traditional watercolour paint? This simple paint recipe made from unsweetened Kool-Aid powder is easy to make, smells great, and is perfect for babies, toddlers and preschoolers who like to put everything in their mouths!
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Have you ever found yourself torn between wanting to let your child do an activity and worrying that they’ll end up eating something they shouldn’t?
If you have a child who likes to put everything in their mouth, I feel you. Two of our kids are like that, and the struggle is real. Our four-year-old has literally eaten soap and come back for more, so trust me when I say that I know what you’re going through.
But the beauty about setting up your own activities at home is you can control exactly which materials and ingredients you use… including making sure that every activity is taste-safe or edible!
We’ve done lots of taste-safe sensory activities, but painting is a classic for a reason. Which is why I’ve been looking for taste-safe alternatives to regular paint to give to my one-, two- and four-year-old.
As it turns out, there are dozens of ways to make paint at home using only edible ingredients. And perhaps the simplest is this recipe for easy Kool-Aid watercolour paint!
Kool-Aid paint is so quick to make that your kids will be painting in no time. And unlike some recipes, it doesn’t include any complicated ingredients like corn syrup that you may not have in your kitchen cupboard.
We also loved how fruity the paint smelled—even after it was dry.
So if you’re looking for an easy paint recipe that is safe for your baby, toddler or preschooler to use, you’ll definitely want to give this one a try!
How to Make Watercolour Paint with Kool-Aid
Here’s what you’ll need to make homemade watercolour paint without any corn syrup or food colouring:
Note: As with regular watercolour paint, I recommend using this paint on cardstock or watercolour paper rather than on regular printer paper. Regular paper is too thin and the paint might soak through it.
1. Pour Kool-Aid Powder
Start by opening up a packet of Kool-Aid powder and pouring some of it into a small container.
You can pour the whole packet if you want, but you should be able to get at least a couple uses out of each packet if you don’t need to make a lot of paint.
2. Add Water
Add a bit of water to the Kool-Aid powder and stir it until the powder has dissolved. (If you used the whole packet, start with about one tablespoon of water.) Then, grab a paintbrush and check what the paint looks like once it’s been spread onto some paper.
Because I only added a little bit of water initially, the colour was super concentrated. In fact, the colour of the grape-scented paint was closer to black than to purple.
But the great thing about Kool-Aid watercolour paint is that you can easily adjust how concentrated they are. So if ever you feel that the colours are too dark, you can add a bit more water… and if ever you overdo it and the colours look too washed out, you can simply add a little bit more powder!
Another fun thing about these paints is their “scratch ’n’ sniff” aspect. Once the paint dries, you’ll be able to smell the flavour of the Kool-Aid by scratching the paint with your nails. (Note: The potency of the smell will depend on how concentrated your paint was, so less concentrated paint will have a weaker smell.)
This Kool-Aid paint recipe can also be a good way to reuse Kool-Aid that was used for other activities. We used Kool-Aid to dye Easter eggs not so long ago, and instead of throwing out the leftover Kool-Aid, we used it to paint!
The colours weren’t quite as concentrated as we would have liked since we used the proportions you would normally use to dye eggs, but it still worked out quite nicely.
Finally, painting with Kool-Aid is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers who like to put things in their mouths. Both ingredients are edible, so it won’t pose a risk if they decide to try it—but since the Kool-Aid powder is unsweetened, it won’t taste great and your little ones won’t feel actively encouraged to eat more!
How to Make Frozen Kool-Aid Paint
For a fun twist on this paint recipe, pour some of your Kool-Aid watercolour paint into the cavities of an ice cube tray, add some popsicle sticks and leave the ice cube tray in the freezer until the paint is frozen.
You’ll end up with colourful ice cubes with popsicle stick handles that can be used as frozen ice paints. So fun!
Kool-Aid Watercolour Paint
- 1 packet unsweetened Kool-Aid powder
- 1 tbsp water or more as needed
- Pour the contents of the Kool-Aid packet into a small bowl or container.
- Add water and stir until the powder has dissolved. Use immediately to paint on cardstock or watercolour paper. If colours are too dark, add a bit more water to dilute the paint.
Related Taste-Safe Activities for Kids
Looking for more fun activities that are safe for young kids who like to put things in their mouths? Check out these articles:
- Taste-Safe Chia Seed Sensory Play
- 2-Ingredient Fake Snow
- Taste-Safe Sensory Foam
- Jell-O Toy Rescue Activity for Kids
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