Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsMake an awesome zip line for kids - great STEAM activity you can do with your whole family indoors or outdoors

It’s week two of our STEAM Power series.  Last week I shared our easy zip line for kids for the theme : FLY.  This week the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) theme is REACTION.  While scrolling through my photos I came across these pics of my girls doing SMOOSH Paintings (at least, that’s what we call them) and I thought they’d be great for this weeks theme.  I know as moms we’re all so busy trying to do it all and it can be overwhelming to add another thing to our to do list.  That goes for me too! I had all these new ideas for a Reaction post to share with you and when push came to shove, I went with an old favorite.  Here is something pretty simple that my girls love, with the added bonus of science and art mixing together.

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsMaterials

transparency paper, plain paper, paint (preferable something squeezable, but you can also put paint in cups and spoon it onto the paper for the same effect)

*note* if you don’t have transparency paper you can do this in a ziploc bag too.

The first step is to set up a tray for your child to work on.  (to read more about how trays are one of the best ways to set up art for kids, click my Art Secrets Every Parent Should Know)  Place a piece of paper on the tray along side the paints.  Ikea makes these mala paints in the pictures and I just love them.  The colors are super bright and the spout is small, which is great for little squeezes.  Let your child squirt out dabs of paint all over the white paper.  *NOTE* It sometimes takes time and training for little ones to understand how to squeeze just a little bit.  It’s worth taking the time to practice and demonstrate.  Feel free to use my little song “A little dab’ll do ya.”  The tune is up to you : )

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsNext comes the transparency paper. Transparency paper is one of my favorite art supplies and it’s often overlooked or not thought of at all.  I recommend it in my favorite art supplies list.  You can use it for all types of things, from tracing your favorite photograph, to making your own shadow boxes.  Each box is about 12-15 dollars but 100 sheets lasts a really long time so I think it’s a good investment.  Sometimes you can score a box from a friend too, so ask around.

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsAfter you get a few squeezes of paint on the paper, let your child cover the paint with transparency paper.  Then they can start to smoosh!

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsIt’s really fun to watch the different paint colors react to each other.  New colors start to form and pictures come alive.  You can enhance the color blending idea by using only primary colors – red, yellow and blue.

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsAs you can see a little paint may squeeze out onto fingers, but mostly the mess is pretty minimal and that’s always a nice factor for an art project.

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsNext the kids can peel the transparency paper off the white paper.  There is a beautiful work of art on both pieces.  The clear paper can be hung on the window as a sun catcher after it dries and the white paper can be displayed on the wall or in a frame.

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kidsThis process can be practiced over and over again until your child is done.  If you have a child that just wants to squeeze and squeeze, maybe they can decide how many squirts they want to do for each painting.  You can make it a counting game as well and allowing them to choose the number of squirts can be really empowering.  I use that trick all the time for sharing.  “How many more minutes would you like that toy before your share it with your sister?”  Most of the time it’s no longer than 2-4 minutes.

To check out other super fun Reaction activities as part of our STEAM series, here are links to some great posts.  Thanks for reading along! xo Meri

Colorful Chemical Reactions from Frugal Fun for Boys

Rainbow Reactions from Lemon Lime Adventures

Color Changing Chemistry Clock by Left Brain Craft Brain

Stixplosions by Babble Dabble Do

Glowing Hands Experiment by All for the Boys

Rube Goldberg Machine by Tinkerlab

Inertia Zoom Ball by What Do We Do All Day

Smoosh Painting for toddlers - mess free easy painting for little kids40 plus sensory activities for babies and toddlersFind more than 50 awesome art projects for 3 to 5 year olds