Aristotle loves art activities and another fun activity on the hit list is mould and paint. Kidz Labs 4M make a variety of mould and paint kits that are affordable and easy to do. You can also DIY the activity, although I think this is one of those activities that would be more cost effective with a kit unless you’re implementing it in a class setting.
If you’re deciding to DIY, here’s a list of what you will need:
- plaster of paris
- plastic mould (like those you use to make chocolates)
- hobby paint
- adhesive magnetic strips (if you’re planning to make fridge magnets)
- mixing bowl (for mixing the plaster of paris – we used an old yoghurt container)
- mixing spatula (we used one of those plastic IKEA spoons)
Aristotle received the Paint & Mould Dinosaur Kit for his birthday and we finally got to work on it during one of the many holiday breaks over the last couple of weeks.
I had to help Aristotle with the mixing of the plaster and spooning the mix into the plastic moulds because it’s a bit fiddly and it needs to be done quickly or your plaster will start to set. We used to do this in the lab at Uni when we were pouring out plaster moulds of teeth so it was a rather familiar process. Mix the plaster only as long as you need to get all the powder into the mix then start scooping it into the mould.
The instructions will tell you roughly how much water to add but generally the rule of thumb is the more water you add, the thinner the mix, the smoother the result but the weaker the plaster and the longer the setting time. It should be added at this point, however, that no consistency will make the set plaster strong enough to withstand the experiments of a 2 year old hell-bent on investigating the effects of gravity. In other words, it will still chip if you drop it – as Hercules demonstrated for us when he managed to get his hot little hands on them after the paint had dried.
Once you have scooped the plaster into the moulds, tap the mould to get all the air bubbles out. Keep tapping until the bubbles are all out. The setting time is about 30 minutes. Unmould the plaster models and paint. Here’s Aristotle’s work in progress:
I honestly don’t know how they managed to paint them so well on the box because this was how ours turned out:
Okay, I confess. I tampered with Aristotle’s work while he was napping. I added the “features” in – the blue spots on stegosaurus, the red mouth on T-Rex and the colour differentiation between the legs on stegosaurus, T-Rex and paralophosaurus. The rest of it was Aristotle’s work. How on earth they ever managed to paint T-Rex’s teeth white is beyond me because the best I could do was to make him look like he was still dripping blood from his teeth after a recent kill.
The other thing that didn’t really turn out very well was the glow paint. It says you can mix it into the paint or you can paint on the highlights over the colours. Well, mixing it in with the paint doesn’t work. Adding it on over the colours makes it look clumpy. I couldn’t get a picture with the glow in the dark effect because it doesn’t show up very well.
All in all, Aristotle enjoyed it immensely and wants to make more dinosaurs to paint. I have to say that I enjoyed myself, too – painting was fun even if I couldn’t get it to look anything remotely like the picture on the box. The only downside to this activity was that Hercules wanted in on it once he got wind of what we were up to behind his back. I managed to placate him with some no-holds-barred painting in the shower but now he wants to paint every bath time…