This is a classic activity, but I thought I’d remind you of it, especially since you have those left over carrot and celery tops from making Stone Soup just lying around!
Take a few veggies like carrots, celery, and potatoes, and cut them to create a “handle” edge and a “printing” edge. I also really like to use apples for this activity. Cut some vertically in half to show the half children are used to seeing, but also cut some horizontally to reveal a cool star design where the seeds are. If you can give the veggies an hour or so to dry a bit, they sometimes seem to hold the paint a little bit better.
Provide paint in a stamp-pad form. I mentioned how to do this in the kitchen prints post here with individual paint trays, but in this activity I used one big art tray, created the pad with the moist paper towels and then spread three different colors of paint on the tray. This made for some fun color mixing, and it was easier for everyone at the table to reach the paint!
Help the children press the food firmly into the paint, and then transfer the paint onto the paper. It’s fun to get creative with the different designs the foods make, and, in addition to working those small muscles in the hands, it allows the children to more closely observe some of the properties of the foods (their textures, seeds, firmness, etc.). I’m particularly partial to the celery print, myself. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think you could have some fun making some rolled prints with dry corn on the cob (Indian corn), the outside of a cantaloupe, or the rind of a lemon, grapefruit, or orange.
If you’re worried about wasting food, use leftovers from cooking as I mentioned above, or use produce that has just passed its prime. You know, those treasures you have in the corner of your refrigerator drawer that are not yet disgusting, but you just know no one’s going to eat them now. (Please tell me I’m not the only one with at least one month-old apples hiding in my fridge. Once they’ve lost their crisp, they are dead to me.)
So get chopping and send those little ones into a printing fury!
For more food-themed activities, click here!