Play Recipe: “Magic” Scented Foaming Paint

Hi friends!

I’m interrupting my lemonade marathon to bring you an accidental art and sensory play discovery that we made while attempting to create some lemonade-scented paint.

Play Recipe: “Magic” Scented Foaming Paint

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

Did you know that if you take a rainbow of TEMPERA PAINTS (It HAS to be tempera paint- read your label carefully!)…
"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

match them up with a rainbow of Koolaid packets…

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

sprinkle the Koolaid into the paint…

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

and stir it up…

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

You get something that looks like this?

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

Or this?

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

You may have known this (no doubt many moms have made this discovery before me), but frankly, I was rather astounded. And so were the twins! Will proclaimed, “It MADZIC, Mommy! It MADZIC!” Cheesy, I know, but it did seem a little magical.

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

Of course, I had to go searching on the internet to see if anyone could explain this phenomenon. I did find a mention of it HERE on a forum in the MadSci Network that said that tempera paint contains chalk which reacts to the acidic elements in Koolaid (most flavors contain citric acid) and releases carbon dioxide gas, which is the same as the tried-and-true baking soda and vinegar reaction.  The chemist also mentioned that tempera paint contains egg whites which could cook during the reaction, which is why our orange paint ended up looking like this…

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

with a layer of solid goo floating on top! Orange was the only color that formed this thick solid layer- interesting.


It still smelled delicious, though! Of course, we had to test it out right away.

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

I gave the twins the tray of paint with some popsicle sticks, a few brushes, and a couple of shaped spatulas and let them go to town on a huge piece of cardboard in the back yard.  I wasn’t that concerned with giving them any fancy tools, because I knew they would end up using their bodies to paint.

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!
And boy, was I right!

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

Cleanup was surprisingly easy- I set up some tubs (and a baby pool) of water for them to wash the paint off with.  Pretty soon they took their diapers off, too, so no more photos!

"Magic" Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo-just two ingredients!

Not too bad for an accidental discovery!  Once the twins dug into the paint, it wasn’t much different than regular tempera paint, except for a bit thinner (since some of the thickening agents separated from the mixture) and very fragrant!  My son does have sensitive skin but did not have any adverse reaction to the paint- use your own judgment when choosing paint for your own little ones.  Since the paint smells delicious, it may be tempting for younger children to taste, so supervise closely! Also, we have used this paint multiple times and did not experience any skin-staining, BUT since Koolaid is notorious for temporarily staining skin, use caution. Probably not the best choice right before picture day or a special occasion 😉

Magic Scented Foaming Paint at Twodaloo

Interested in using art to build language skills in your little ones? Check out my Building Language with Art post. And click HERE to see ALL of our toddler art ideas! I also have a fantastic Toddler Art Pinterest board devoted to art ideas for toddlers.


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  1. LOVE! Isn’t it fun when you can make discoveries like this with the kiddos? :)

  2. So cool! What a fun discovery. And I always love how your twins use their whole bodies when painting. Too cute.

  3. Love it!

  4. Very cool! I can’t wait to try it!

  5. You can also bake a sticky, scented paint using just Jell-O, a little warm water and glue (use natural, non-toxic and if the kids put it in their mouth you don’t have to freak).

  6. What a fantastic discovery! I’m sure my toddler would love to try this as well. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Heidi! Thanks for your comment, and I hope you try it with your little one! It was super fun!

  7. Smelling like kool aid most toddlers would taste it

    • Stephanie says:

      Hi Faigie! Of course when working with toddlers this is always a concern- we have mostly stayed away from art supplies that contain edible elements for this reason. However, my toddlers, to my delight, did not try to taste this paint, but I can almost guarantee that they would have when they were younger (which is why we have always used non-toxic flour-based paint until recently). Only you as a teacher or parent know the kids you are working with and just like anything else it’s up to you to choose activities and art mediums wisely with their particular needs in mind. If this works for your kiddos, great! We had a blast with it! But if not, skip it and come back to it when they are a little older.

  8. i always feel sad that koolaid is not readily available over here and if i find it its blooming expensive :-(

  9. very cool idea! i’m wondering if this stained? kool aid is notorious for being impossible to remove from clothing.

    • Well, you are right Ann, which is why we painted au natural 😉 If you are worried about stains, I would definitely wear old clothing or a smock!

  10. Is there anything else you can use but Kolaid we have people allergic to red dye. is there anything else we could use???

    • Hmmm…if you want the same bubbling effect you could always mix vinegar with some tempera paint and try sprinkling baking soda in it to make it fizz…that would probably do the trick quite nicely!

  11. These pictures are gorgeous and I want to bring my girls over immediately. Diaper or no diaper ; )

  12. Mimi Leach says:

    Thanks for sharing this really fun paint recipe! We did it at my preschool and painted rainbow clouds. It went very well with our color wheel activities. However, I first tried it with BioColor paints, with NO reaction. Quick replacement with tempera paints and we got the desired result. Not sure what the magic component is, but I won’t use BioColor again with KoolAid.

    • Stephanie says:

      Yep! If you read the whole post I explain the reaction and why it HAS to be tempera paint, which is why BioColor wouldn’t work since it’s not! I’m so glad you guys had fun and thanks for taking a second to let me know it worked!!

  13. This is wonderful, Stephanie! I especially love the photos of them outside with paint all over their skin. Precious!

  14. That pic of your little girl in the tub with the hose, both warmed and broke my heart. Looks just like my little girl. I have a similar pic…that’s 20yrs older.

  15. I did this with my daycare class and they loved it!!!


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