Why Are Kids Eating Paint Mommy?


“Mommy, why are kids eating paint….. that is yucky,” my three year old son asked me with a perplexed look on his face.

My little boy thought that food coloring looked like paint, and intuitively knew it was NOT healthy to eat.

It all started when I took my three year old little boy to a wonderful science program where we learned about “life cycles.”  The program that day explored how life develops, grows and decays using many different type of animals and their unique life cycles. For example we talked about how a frog lays eggs, these eggs hatch into tad poles and then tad poles become frogs. It is a wonderful exploratory “mommy and me”  program that my son loves.

Food coloring is put in so many different processed foods to make it look like "real food."

Using Food Coloring To Make Our Beautiful Butterfly

One of our science projects was to make a caterpillar that would turn into a beautiful butterfly. The supplies were very creative and were all taken from foods, (if you can call them that). We had marshmallows for his head, a strip of mozzarella cheese for the body and white bread for the wings.

When it came time to decorate the butterfly wings, my son took his two pieces of white bread that had been cut in half and started decorating the wings with food coloring. He eagerly started putting all of the colors on his butterfly using yellow food coloring, green food coloring, blue food coloring and red food coloring. My little boy was engrossed and did not want his butterfly to miss out on one bright color on his wings. I watched as the white bread sucked up the red, blue, orange and yellow colors until it was almost wet. Then I saw the look on my sons face that  his pretty butterfly looked just the way he wanted it to be.

“I am all done mommy, I made a butterfly for you,” my son said with glee.

Then all of a sudden the project organizer announced, “don’t forget, you can EAT your butterfly once you are done coloring it.” Eat them I thought? Was she kidding? It was one of “THOSE” moments as a mom where you think quickly to yourself about how you are going to gracefully get out of this with my son. All of the kids started eating their disgusting white bread wings that were dripping with five different types of food coloring and  no one seemed to give it a second thought.

One fact remained, there was NOT A CHANCE that I was going to let my son eat white bread filled with five different types of food coloring.

How Did Mom Get Out Of The Butterfly Eating Food Coloring Bind?

The great news is I didn’t have to say or do anything. My little boy looked around the room with a puzzled look on his face and quietly asked me………”Mommy why are the kids eating paint? That is YUCKY.”

Later that night my son reported to daddy the news that some kids were eating paint and it was yucky.

I have to agree with my 3 year old. Food coloring IS YUCKY!  My three year old intuitively knew that food coloring was not healthy for his little body to eat and I wonder at what age do we loose this intuitive instinct.


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