As long as they are old enough to not try to eat it or stick it in their eyes I wouldn't have a problem with it. As for alternatives you could use whipped cream in the spray cans. I think they work as well.
I would let kids play in it if they aren't still putting things into thir mouths (like my DD does) and could keep it out of their eyes. I prefer to give her a tub of Cool Whip in a clean bathtub. :) You can give them a paintbrush and let them go to town. Then you just run the water and clean it all up with a bath.
I let them.
You could use whip cream.
We let our kids play with it! A quick google search and you'll find lots of photos of kids playing with it, maybe that would put his mind at ease!
I used to have my daughter practice writing on the table with shaving cream and using her finger... I don't see whats wrong it it :)
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