Mixing up bright and colorful M&M paint in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on January 20, 2012

in Creative Art, DIY, M&M Paint, M&M Paint

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After exploring our M&M book and counting activity, we saved our M&Ms for this next super, super, and I mean super fun color sorting and painting activity…

The children started by sorting all the M&M colors into clear plastic cups…

Because the children worked together as a group, the color sorting went fast. There were lots of M&M’s to sort out…

Once the colors were all sorted, we stopped for a minute to compare which color of M&Ms we had the most of then rearranged the cups from the most full to the least full. We discovered we had lots more blue then we had of any other color. We had to divide our blue M&Ms into two cups…

Then each child chose a color of M&Ms to help prepare our M&M paint…

To make the M&M paint, we added water to the cups of M&Ms.  Only add just enough water to slightly cover the top of the M&Ms

The children then stirred each cup of M&Ms with a paint brush until the water in each cup turned the bright color of the M&Ms. The color continues to brighten or thicken up in the water after a few minutes of stirring…

Then the children began to paint with the colors.  The only rule today was that when the children traded cups of paint colors, the paint brush needed to go with the cup so the colors would stay bright and pretty for our paintings…

The children loved the idea of painting with M&M paint and made beautiful paintings with the M&M paint.  After awhile, we could see that the color of the M&Ms had now changed from being different colors to being all white.  The chocolate candies did not get mushy in the water – it felt like you were running your paint brush through a cup of small pebbles. It was a wonderful experience in color and texture and science and art…

The paint is similar to water color painting, so the water absorbed into the paper very quickly and the painted paper dried very quickly…

The children painted and painted, then asked for more paper and painted some more…

The children took their time with the paint and began by creating beautiful rainbow-like designs with all the colors.  After the children had painted for awhile, Ms. Abby sat down to paint with them (it was just too irresistible to only watch) the children decided that they wanted to make a painting like Ms. Abby’s…

I think this was the first time the children in our class painted scenes rather than just designs and as the children continued to paint, the paint continued to hold its beautiful color and the M&M’s in the cups began to turn from the color white to the color brown…

I wondered if the M&Ms would get mushy, but they never did. The children continued to paint with the colorful water paint and we did not have a problem with the chocolate getting on our brushes. I thought that was quite surprising…

Perhaps since the room was cool or because the water was cool the chocolate didn’t melt as we painted. I even let the M&Ms sit in the water for almost an hour after school was over and the chocolates never melted or got too mushy for painting. If you wanted to mash the chocolates up you would have to reach in and use your hands to pinch or squeeze them…

I can’t express to you what a wonderful activity this was overall. From the counting and sorting we did earlier in the day all the way through to the M&M sorting and painting activity, the children stayed engaged and were loving the process…

Let’s talk about clean up

The M&M paint wiped off easily and cleanly from my table after the children went home for the day. No staining and no heavy scrubbing was necessary.  The paint brushes rinsed out easily and I noticed they were only slightly sticky to the touch from the M&M paint. After almost an hour of use, I was surprised that everything wasn’t sticky – but it wasn’t. The children’s hands were also not sticky from the paint but even if they had gotten sticky, the paint was easy to rinse off of hands too. AND the paper was not sticky to the touch…

To clean the cups, I strained the left-over M&M paint while pouring it down the sink then threw the chocolate candies in the trash.  I didn’t want to fill my sink with the candies. Then I rinsed out the cups with water but then decided just to throw them away. These particular cups tend to crack easily after so much use…

I chose to use clear cups so the children could see through them to look at both the color of the paint as well as the changing color of the candies.  I think the only thing I would change in this entire process is to use taller clear cups so the brushes don’t tip out quite so easily…

I hope you will give this a try and if you do, remember to only add just enough water to slightly cover the amount of M&Ms you have in the cup.  This way the water will be more concentrated with the brilliant colors of the M&Ms…

I can easily say that my class would give this activity a rating of a 10! I know this because as they were leaving I heard, “Mommy, we made M&M paint today!”

I am linking up with The Play Academy and No Time for Flashcards: Link & Learn today!

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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