It was one perfectly gorgeous day here in central Ohio. We went outside and enjoyed every minute of it, too. We went for a wagon walk around the block, played with Kinley's little pink car, blew bubbles, ate Popsicles on the front porch and took a nature walk around the yard. 

Kin was feeling brave today and touched the rough treebark, picked up sticks in the yard, laid on her tummy and caressed the still-dead grass, and ripped moss and dirt out of the ground with her tiny fingers and fingernails. As I was brushing the dirt off of her hands and saying, "Yuck. Yuck. Yuck." for the 12th time, I had a flashback to an art project involving mud that I used to have my daycare babies do and realized it would be the perfect project for my very own dirt-lovin' gal.

So, it's not real mud, it's way better. Delicious chocolate, super messy mud...pudding! 

Warning: Try this project indoors only if you are a mom who doesn't mind cleaning up extra giant messes as long as your tiny human has fun while making them. If this doesn't describe you, try this project when it's warm enough to turn the sprinkler on and have your kiddos work on it outside where they can hose the chocolate off without making a huge sticky mess in your house.

If you hadn't noticed already, I am the fun-messes-are-worth-it kind of momma, so we went for it!

Here is what you need:

4 googly eyes
Pink construction paper
Brown construction paper (we used a 12x12 sheet of brown cardstock)
Pink marker
Glue stick
A sugar-free chocolate pudding cup (sugar-free is much less sticky than regular, but use what you have.)

Cut out your pig stencil and trace it twice on your pink construction paper with pencil. Cut out the piggies, draw their snouts on with your pink marker, and glue them to your brown background paper.

Get your kiddo's paint shirt on, batten down the hatches, and plop some pudding right on the piggy paper. You may want to don safety goggles, because once toddlers figure out that paint is pudding, things get crazy really fast! 

K was completely covered, and couldn't have been any happier. She splashed in the pudding, and smushed the pudding between her fingers, and finally used the side of her hand like a squeegee to scrape off as much pudding as she could to transfer to her mouth. She had a blast!

I've learned from experience to wait until all the painting is done before sticking on the googly eyes, otherwise they just look like bumps under the pudding. I did this part for Kinley. You usually don't even need a glue stick if the pigs are good and covered with the sticky "mud."

Kinley tried to help clean up...

She may have missed a few spots.

I used to do this project every year during our farm unit, and aside from a few babies with sensory issues, all of the babies I took care of over the course of almost 7 years had fun with this one. The only drawback is that once they figure out that this paint tastes good, they try to eat every paint they come in contact with after this one...nothing like scraping black paint out of a whole bunch of unhappy little mouths. Good thing fingerpaint is non-toxic.

I've got another chocolate pudding paint project and a couple of butterscotch pudding paint projects up my sleeve, so if your kiddo likes this one, stay tuned.

Bonus, this project is sensory and art rolled into one super fun, super yummy mess! I hope you'll give it a try, it's totally worth the scrubbing, I promise. And another bonus, you won't be able to resist snuggling your slightly chocolate scented kiddo.

Have fun!!

P.S. My dad sent me the link to an article about the importance of sensory play...thought it was pretty interesting and wanted to pass it on to you: 

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