This project lets kids play with their food while making neat art prints to hang on the fridge. It's a great craft for all ages. Younger kids will get a kick out of being allowed to paint food. Older kids can focus on technique and enjoy experimenting with different types of produce.
Before beginning this project, cover your work surface with newspaper. You will need paper to make the prints on (the bigger the better), washable paints, paintbrushes, and Styrofoam meat trays or other shallow containers to hold paint. A cup of rinse water for each child is also helpful.
To minimize squabbling when doing this project with a group of children, make up a small plate of vegetables for each child. Encourage kids to rinse their vegetables off and blot them dry on a paper towel before switching colors. This will keep the paint cleaner and minimize vegetable waste. Dip the vegetable in paint, making sure to coat the surface thoroughly. If there is excess paint, stamp the vegetable on a piece of scrap paper before stamping it on the final project. For the clearest effect, stamp firmly and don't shift the vegetable around as you press it.
Vegetables and fruits to try for this project include:
Broccoli or cauliflower. A spear sliced lengthwise, spread with paint, and stamped on paper makes a great tree shape. You can also coat the floret part with paint and use that as a stamp.
Carrots or parsnips. Cut the end off of a regular size carrot or parsnip to make a handy dot stamp. These are a wonderful first stamp for small children because they are sturdy and easy to do.
Star fruit. Cut thick slices of this pretty fruit to make large star shapes.
Apples. Cut an apple in half width-wise to reveal a pretty star shape to stamp. Also try stamping with apple slices or rings.
Cucumbers, zucchini, and radish. Any of these vegetables can be used to stamp circles on paper. Try using different sized slices for a neat effect.
Peppers. Slice a bell pepper into rings and remove the seeds to create a pretty floral shape to stamp.
Grapes. Coat grapes in paint and roll them across your paper to make designs.
Mushrooms. Cut a mushroom in half and use it to stamp…a mushroom shape! Very cool!
Have fun experimenting with different kinds of vegetables and fruits. Some of these vegetables are trickier to get a clean print of than others. To avoid frustration, you may wish to stick to the easier vegetables and fruits, such as apples and carrots, for younger children. Having kids practice on a piece of scrap paper to get a feel for this activity before beginning is also helpful.