By Donna Erickson
If April's showers are keeping your kids inside, surprise them with rainy-day fun that will spark their creativity. Stir up several batches of puffy paint for paper using the simplest of ingredients: flour, salt and water. Add coloring, and the kids will be able to make doodles and designs that will have a sparkly "puff" effect as they dry.
It's an inexpensive, non-toxic concoction that's not only easy to mix, but virtually messless because the paint is applied with a recycled squeeze bottle.
Here's the stuff you'll need for two colors:
1 cup white flour
1 cup plain table salt
1 cup water
poster paint or food coloring
2 plastic squeeze bottles with spout, such as recycled honey bear bottles
Here's the fun:
In a medium-size mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and water until smooth. It should be thick and pourable like a milkshake. Divide the mixture into two bowls. Add some paint or a few drips of food coloring and stir each one until blended. If your mixtures are too thick, add water a half-teaspoon at a time. Pour into the two squeeze bottles.
On a newspaper-covered work surface, squeeze the paint onto a sheet of heavy paper or poster board to create designs. When finished, set aside to dry. The paint will puff on its own as it dries. For best results, use the paint within two to three days.
Fun things to paint:
• Draw small designs on heavy notecard paper.
Add envelopes and tie with a ribbon for a gift. Or, make a collection of gift tags by punching a hole in the corner and adding string.
• Make a frame for a painting or photo using a recycled cereal box.
Cut a cereal box into two rectangular shapes larger than what you are framing, with one piece slightly larger than the other. The larger of the two pieces is the frame and the small piece is the backing. Cut out the center of the frame to leave an opening for the art or photo to show.
Now it's time to decorate it! Paint the plain side of the frame by squeezing some puffy paint on it. Spread the paint out thinly with a paintbrush to cover the cardboard. Let dry, then squeeze fun designs on the painted frame. Let dry.
Attach your photo or artwork to the backing with tape. Place the frame on top and tape in place.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the new Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."
© 2013 Donna Erickson
Distributed by King Features Synd.