Play It Forward Therapy

Pancake Puffy Paint

Pancake Puffy Paint

Here’s a simple recipe to make your own puffy paint with ingredients commonly found in your cupboard.  It’s called “Pancake” Puffy Paint because when you microwave it, your paint designs will puff up like a pancake.  Plus, when you mix the ingredients, it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

It’s just as fun as making pancakes, but don’t eat this paint… It’s better enjoyed as art!

Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 Cup of flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup of water
  • Food coloring
  •  Ziplock bags or
  • Plastic squeeze bottles
  • Other supplies: Scissors, Qtips, paint brushes or toothpicks.
  • Optional:  decorate with glitter or sprinkles


  1. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk.
  2.  Gradually add the water until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.
  3.  Pour the batter into a ziplock bag or directly into a plastic squeeze bottle.
  4.  Add the food coloring.
  5.  Cut the tip off the plastic bag.  It’s helpful to use a clothespin or baggie tie at the top of the bag.
  6.  Squeeze the paint onto a paper plate or heavy cardstock.
  7.  Microwave for 15-30 seconds and watch your paint puff up like a pancake!

Pro Tips

  • Mix until the batter is smooth with no lumps.
  • Microwave for 15-30 seconds depending upon the size of your design.
  • Be careful taking it out of the microwave because it will be warm.
  • Don’t touch it until it has cooled.
  • Experiment with using Qtips, toothpicks, spoons or paint brushes to work on fine motor skills and grasp.
  • Cut your designs out after they have cooled.
  • Do not eat.  Supervision at all times, especially when using the microwave.
Making Puff Paint addresses several skills that are important for a child’s sensory motor development.  Here’s a breakdown of the therapeutic benefits of this activity.

Bilateral hand coordination:  Using one hand to hold a utensil while the other hand stabilizes the bowl is excellent practice for efficient two hand use.

Hand strength:  Stirring the batter and squeezing the food coloring or plastic bottles improves grasp strength.  Using your “pincher” fingers  (thumb and index finger) to zip the bag closed or picking up small decorations helps develop precision control and eye hand coordination.

Sensory Processing:  This activity can be messy!  However, you can adjust the level of messiness if a child has tactile sensitivity or challenges tolerating wet, messy textures.   Set out different “tools” such as a paint brush, Q-tip or even a toothpick to create designs.  Creating art can be a calming and relaxing activity to support self-regulation.

Social skills:  Taking turns, waiting and practicing conversation skills during this activity is a great way to practice social skills.  Plus, giving your art work to others or making a project for someone else is a super way to teach children that sharing is caring!


Check out these easy Gardening
 while enjoying nature and
improving sensory processing and fine
motor skills.


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