30 April 2008

Teach colors with food coloring on your tongue!

In: 1-3 Years

Eleni's creative hack could dovetail nicely with the colored milk trick...

My niece is two years old and while she is learning to count (so far she can go from one to mawebban [11]) she has had trouble learning her colors. I bought a package of food coloring and every time I’d go visit Jaelyn and I’d use the food coloring to change my tongue a different color. I’d stick out my tongue and ask her, “Jae, what color is my tongue?” If she’d have trouble I’d help her out by telling her the color. After a few weeks she knew all of her basic colors and was looking forward to my visits more than usual. If nothing else it’s good for a few giggles. My nephew Aidan is 9 months and he loves it.

Now that's a devoted aunt.

Related: Teach toddlers their colors using M&Ms

Your comments

Feed Follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Ok, I kept mum on the last post about food coloring, but...is it safe to be ingesting this amount of straight up food coloring? I'm not thinking that a kid will grow a third leg from the occasional birthday cake icing, but if you're coloring every glass of milk with a few drops, that could add up to a lot of food coloring!

Maybe try to find a natural kind for this kind of thing??

I can't think of one instance food coloring has hurt someone so far. At least not that I've heard of.

Think of it as your child or you (if your doing this hack) eating a wild colored sucker or cookie.

Suckers, candies and certain foods change your tongue colors as well using the same basic food colorings.

I agree, what a devoted aunt! *chuckles*

"I can't think of one instance food coloring has hurt someone so far. At least not that I've heard of."

We must be of different generations. I remember hearing all about the dangers of Red Dye #2 as a kid. It turned out to be a carcinogen. After the attention that one drew, many other food dyes also had to be withdrawn after they too proved unhealthy. Even with the 'safe' ones, it's not uncommon for someone to have a food dye allergy.


FWIW, I appreciate Kate raising the question. I thought both posts were clever. But she's right that it'd be wise to watch how much dye you wind up using. Safety testing is based on an assumption of "normal" exposure. Having a little more than normal shouldn't be a problem. But if you're ingesting a food additive in unusually high quantity, that does put you outside the tested range. At that point, whether you're still safe or not is a crapshoot.

To my surprise, it turns out that medical researchers in the UK recently (2004, 2007) have begun finding connections between food dyes and childhood hyperactivity. It's still rather preliminary, but worth a read.



We close comments after a month to guard against spam. Want to talk about this hack? Join us on Twitter and Facebook!


Free updates

  • Subscribers are my VIPs. My weekly newsletter includes a personal update, the latest from Parent Hacks, interesting links and news.

    Subscribers also get priority event invitations and occasional surprises via snail mail.

Asha's Book

  • At Amazon: Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less

    Find out why doing less is the key to resourceful, thriving kids, and a calmer, happier YOU.

    Minimalist Parenting is an encouraging roadmap for decluttering your schedule, your home, and your vision for family life. Reviewers call it "a much welcome alternative to the usual parenting advice."

    Learn More at Amazon

    Also available at Barnes & Noble or your favorite local bookstore.

New Book Coming Soon!

  • Coming soon: Parent Hacks Book

Start Amazon shopping here