My son, like most young kids, loves to do activities that are hands-on. We have tackled a number of building activities from playing with Legos and Magnetic Tiles to Bristol Blocks.

When I realized that we had the opportunity to make our own 3-D paint, I became excited. However, my son had to sign off on the project. When he saw that we could make our own paint from scratch, he was all for it.

I like this activity because we had all the ingredients in the kitchen. Also, it was a great opportunity to practice writing and incorporate literacy in a fun way!

So let’s talk about our exciting scientific art experiment!

How to use this project to increase your child’s reading and writing skills

The project below will provide a fun and educational hands-on experience for kids. It is called the 3-D Puffy Paint Project and can encourage children to practice writing letters and numbers. This activity can be used to create stories and during pretend play. Additionally, constantly squeezing the paint out the bottle is a great hand strengthener to prepare kids for writing.

My son created a story while doing this project. The story was about a monster who played with friends. The monster started playing with one friend and then as time went on, the amount of friends grew exponentially. By the end of the story, the monster played with over 100 friends. We learned the words exponentially, introduce and exhausted, while doing this activity.

I exposed my son to new words by retelling the story. After my son told me the story, I said the following…

Me: So you are telling me that this story is about a monster who played with one friend at the playground. Then he kept meeting more and more friends as the day went on. This means his friends grew exponentially from 1 to over 100. Right?

My Son: Right

Me: As they were playing, he became very tired or exhausted. So how did he meet all those friends?

My Son: He went up to friends and said, “My name is Monster, do you want to play?”

Me: Oh, so the monster introduced himself to the new friends, and then asked them to play.

My son: “Yes, Yes, that’s right!”

Quick Tip: Use the new vocabulary as you are casually talking to your little one so they will internalize the information.

Another way to make this project literacy based is to have your child read the directions on this post while making the puffy paint. Encourage your child to sound out or say words that they know if they are beginning to read. If they can’t read yet, help them to use the pictures in this post to show how to make the paint. Your child will be reading because they are interpreting meaning. Additionally, read the instructions to them while following along with your finger so they see that words are needed in order to make the paint.

Now Let’s Make Paint that is 3-D!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Flour (30 ml)
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt (30 ml)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water (30 ml)
  • Small Bowl
  • Food Coloring
  • Squeeze Bottle
  • Cereal-box cardboard

Method:

  • Mix flour, salt, and water in the bowl.
Measuring the flour, salt, and water with a measuring spoon.

Mixing flour, salt, and water in a bowl.

  • Add two drops of food coloring.
Mixing in blue coloring
  • Pour mixture into the squeeze bottle.
  • Make a few colors by following the first three steps.
  • Squirt lines, curves, dots, and PICTURES on the cardboard.
My son is having fun with the puffy paint.


My son is narrating and illustrating a story about a Monster playing with friends.

Make this a fun literary activity by doing the following…

  • Paint or draw a picture and create a story about the image.
  • Have the child practice writing their name.
  • Have the child practice writing their letters or numbers.
  • Make a wake up puppet and decorate it with puffy paint.
    • Once the paint dries, read a story using the puppet.

Have Fun Learning and Painting!

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8 thoughts on “DIY Puffy Paint for Beginning Readers and Writers

  1. This puffy paint looks so fun for kids, I especially love the teaching scenario you created, such great tips! I’m going to try this and hope it helps one of my kiddos that hates writing.

    1. Hello Shayla! Thank you so much for your comment! I hope your child finds it fun!!! My son loved this activity!

  2. What a GREAT idea! When my son was little, I was forever looking for projects for us to do and this would have made my list!

  3. What a great idea! I love the way this activity will appeal to kinesthetic learners. I also like the way you incorporated vocabulary into your conversation. Thanks for sharing the recipe and ideas.

  4. What a fun activity for children! I love all the different elements, the science, the art, the vocabulary. I’m sure 3D paint will be a hit in our house!

  5. That is so cool how you mixed learning, fun and crafts in to this. I love it. I will try this with my son.

    1. Thank you Robert for your comment! We had a lot of fun with activity. The learning piece was an added bonus! I hope your son enjoys this activity.

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