Zelda is so into being a regular person. She wants to drink your water and eat your pizza and play with that choking hazard and she will not take no for an answer, even when it is the obvious answer (I do not feed my seven month old pizza: don't bother). So during Nathan's first week back at school, when I was attempting to keep extra busy, I tried to find some fun things for both kids to do together at levels they'd each enjoy rather than George coaching Zelda or Zelda having things pried repeatedly from her grasp. Cornstarch paint seemed a nice, easy DIY for these last warm days and George is on a painting kick that I'm really trying to encourage.
My recipe is 1 cup of water to 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. For this batch I made three cups because I knew they'd go through it quickly. You just mix the cornstarch into lukewarm water, then heat over medium-high heat until it's thick, stirring pretty frequently. I put a few drops of food coloring into cups and added the gloop once it had thickened to my liking, stirred to mix in the color and put the cups in the freezer to cool off for a little while. I gave them another stir when they came out, and they were ready to go.
Zelda immediately turned the tablecloth and paper into a slip-n-slide. The sensory aspect was basically it for her, but she squished the paint around in her fists and slid all over the place and that was good enough for her. George is something of a rule follower and wasn't thrilled that Zelda had dumped the paint and subsequently got it all over herself, but I tried to give him an area of his own by repositioning the remaining paint and corralling his sister. I encouraged him to paint on his own arms or belly, but that was preposterous and he was deeply offended at the suggestion.
Zelda was having so much fun rolling around in the paint that George finally decided to give some handprints a try, and, after watching her brother for awhile, Zelda picked up a paintbrush. This exploration inspired by each other was, to me, totally the highlight of the activity.
I plunked them both in the bath immediately after they were finished playing, but Zelda came out looking like I'd haphazardly shot a tube of sunblock at her and left her out in the sun all day. It came off, though... eventually.