Toddlers love to squeeze! If you give them a tube of toothpaste or a bottle of glue, they will squeeze out every last ounce. They are not trying to be naughty or wasteful; they just need to experiment to understand how things work. Here is a great activity to satisfy that squeezing urge. It’s easy, nontoxic and inexpensive.
You will need:
- Mixing bowl and spoon
- Food coloring or paint
- Squeeze bottles (such as the soft bottles used for candy making because they are easy to squeeze)
- Cardboard (the paint is thick, so paper won’t work for this activity)
In the mixing bowl, measure equal parts of flour, salt and water. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add food coloring or paint in your desired color. Pour into the squeeze bottle. Use a clean bowl to mix the next color. You can make as many colors as you want. Let your child squeeze the glitter paint onto the cardboard in any design he or she likes. Keep the squeeze bottles upside down in a container so the “paint” stays down near the tip. The pictures take a while to dry, but when they do, the salt gives them a “glittery” look — perfect for a wintry or holiday scene!
What will your child learn?
Squeezing helps develop and strengthen the group of small muscles in the hands that will be used later for cutting with a scissors, holding a pencil, etc. Your child will learn about volume as he or she squeezes the bottle from full to empty, and will learn about colors.
The little caps on the squeeze bottles can be a choking hazard. Be sure to keep them out of children’s reach.