I've seen lots of ideas lately of how to do "no mess finger painting" which I thought was a fabulous idea! I didn't have any finger paint, but I figured some cornstarch, water, and food coloring would do the trick. Plus cornstarch and water makes a really interesting feeling texture, so I thought that would be great for sensory learning and such.
Unfortunately, Jack didn't think it was such a great idea. I'd taped the bag of "goo" down to keep him from opening it and turning no mess into a big mess, which meant his primary goal was to get the tape out of his way so he could open the bag. He didn't get the "finger painting" concept at all.
So after feeling like a complete failure, I decided to just go with the messy option. I added a little more cornstarch to make it more like a clay, and put it in a bowl, and let him have at it.
Miraculously, he actually kept it mostly in the bowl. I anticipated him trying to throw it, eat it, and generally create a disaster. But he was so intrigued by the texture and feel of it, that he just kept poking it, trying to pick it up, and letting it drip back out between his fingers. Mess = success! (And it wasn't even too big of a mess! Double bonus!)
Warning: The food coloring did stain his hands a little bit. I added it when I'd planned on a "no mess" activity. So if you're worried about a little skin staining, don't add food coloring. It did completely clean off by bed time though.