Little kids are happy just playing with dough, so skip the cookies and concoct some goopy, colorful goo instead. Toddlers and preschoolers thrive on hands-on tactile experiences and playing with goo gives them an outlet for their natural desire to touch everything. As with any crafts project, making goo requires clear instructions about the behavior you expect from your children. Making goo won't take more than 10 minutes, and your kids can participate in the creation and cleanup of this inventive, nontoxic treat.
Tape garbage bags to the table before mixing your goo. Flour and water are easy to clean, but you'll spare your sanity by minimizing the mess from the beginning.
Combine flour and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Allow the children to take turns mixing and mashing the ingredients until all the lumps are smooth. Add more water for thinner goo or less water for a thicker paste texture.
Add a few drops of food coloring to the goo. Stir until your coloring blends evenly throughout the goo. Food coloring isn't necessary for texture or consistency, but adding bright colors can make your creation all the more appealing to little ones.
Separate the goo into smaller bowls if you have more than one child. Individual bowls allow each child her own goo supply. Create different colors of goo for each child if you're feeling ambitious.
Clean up the goo with paper towels saturated in warm water and some mild hand soap. For fast removal, clean the goo before it dries onto the floor and chairs. Strip and discard the garbage bags taped to the table.
Remind the kids of specific ground rules before giving them the goo, such as "keep your hands to yourself" and "stay at the table" unless you tell them otherwise. Removing goo from your 4-year-old's hair or the sofa is far more challenging than wiping it from the kitchen floor.