What You Need:
- cupcake tin
- plastic pitcher
- food coloring
- white paper towels
- clear contact paper
- pinking shears (optional)
What You Do Together:
1 Ask your child to spread newspaper on the floor. Help her use a small pitcher to fill six sections of a cupcake tin with water. Add a few drops of a different food coloring to each section.
2 Next, help your child fold a white paper towel into small squares or triangles at least four times. Then ask her to dip the corners of the towel into different colors. When all the corners have been dipped, help her carefully unfold the towel and lay it on the newspaper to dry. Now it's time to make another one! (Encourage your child to experiment with different folding techniques and to observe and describe the different results she achieves). Make as many dip-dye place mats as you need.
3 After the dip-dyed towels have thoroughly dried, cut a piece of clear contact paper slightly larger than the paper towels and peel off the backing. Help your child carefully lay one of the towels on the contact paper and smooth it down. Then cut a second piece and place it on top of the towel. If pinking shears are available or you have a child-sized zigzag scissors, invite your child to cut a decorative border around the edges.
4 Set the table! Encourage your child to suggest additional ways to make the meal festive!
This activity originally appeared in the November, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.