Summer Art Activity :: Swimming Pool Ball Painting

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Ball Painting in the Swimming Pool - A Fun Summer Art Activity for Kids

Looking for a super fun summer art activity for kids? Try this…

One kiddie pool + one large sheet of butcher paper + several balls dipped in paint

I’ve been wanting to try this large scale ball painting project with Maia for a while now and and am glad I finally did.

(We’ve done something similar on a much smaller scale with marble rolling.)

Here’s how to do this awesome painting activity ::

Swimming pool ball painting

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As set up, I taped a large sheet of paper to the bottom of our plastic swimming pool, poured tempera paint into cake pans, and found an assortment of balls–bouncy balls, a huge wooden bead, and musical egg shakers. Tennis balls, wiffle balls, and softballs would work great as well. You could also try this with large ones such as soccer balls or basketballs.

By the way, the paper we used is actually construction paper (literally) bought in a large roll from Lowes for $10 and very economical for large-scale artworks. We also use butcher paper, though, especially when we want white paper instead of brown.


First Maia and her friend Marlise covered the balls in paint.


Then they dropped the paint-covered balls in the swimming pool…


…and rolled them back and forth and all around by tilting the pool.


Of course they were soon adding hand and foot prints to the painting. And, since paint is slippery, bottom prints.

I sprayed them (and the swimming pool) off with the hose and thought they’d want to splash around in the pool afterward but they chose a warm bath instead.

It was definitely a fun summer art activity, though!

Have any of you tried painting with rolling balls or rolling marbles?

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Summer Art Activity for Kids - Swimming Pool Ball Painting

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  1. says

    Yes, and another method to try (small scale) that’s lots of fun and has very appealing results, is to use oatmeal cannisters or empty coffee cans, line the inside with paper, then add paint covered balls. Put the lid on and shake and roll the can around. The best balls for this, I have found to be cat toys, of all things…spongy balls that look like golf balls, and little prickly balls that look like koosh balls. They make wonderful textures, reminiscent of impressionist and pointilist paintings.

  2. says

    That looks like so much fun! We’ve been using an old storage container for outdoor water fun, but this might convince me to invest in an actual wading pool. I love the oatmeal canister suggestion as well.

  3. says

    We’ve done the marble painting in a deep roasting pan several times, and my boys alway love it (we also painted marbeled wooden Easter eggs this way – gorgeous!)…they would go CRAZY for a huge-scale version of one of their favorites! Thanks for the idea!

  4. michelle says

    I’ve done it with golf balls on paper in a roasting pan, I think Mary Kohl (spelling?) has it as an activity in one of her books.

  5. annette standrod says

    so doing this after naptime! we were swimming earlier so the pool is already out. We did the marble barrel painting. They are going to love this! Thanks. keep doing cool stuff with your kids so I can do cool stuff with my kids. Oh, I bought my bamboo poles and will be making our bean pole teepee soon.

  6. says

    That magnet art looks like so much fun! We don’t have any magnet “wands” though. I wonder if we could just do it with two magnets though.

  7. says

    Fun!!!That looks like some serious art-making fun! Can’t wait to try this. And great solution on the paper…now I need to figure out how to say that in Italian at the local hardware store :)

  8. says

    I know! We have a restaurant supply store that sells corn starch in REALLY HUGE BAGS for cheap that we purchased for our preschool – it filled the sensory table full quite a few times throughout the year. It would definitely have to be a really small wading pool, and the biggest bag (or two) of cornstarch. I think the experience would be well worth the effort.

  9. says

    After I purchased a few wands, I thought silly, it could totally be done by taping magnets to the end of sticks … rulers, chopsticks, etc.

  10. amy says

    The last picture with the girls’ footprints reminds me of a teletubbies episode I saw aeons ago when I still had a toddler- in it there were kids painting outside on giant circles of paper with brooms (and wall paint rollers) as paintbrushes. What i really remember are the sounds of their joy as they switched from brooms to feet and hands.
    They love getting their whole bodies into it, don’t they? I’m going to try the rolling ideas as well as brooms this summer. And maybe the paper on a fence with watered down paint in spray bottles too.
    Thanks, as usual, for getting me to think outside the box! Bigger and Outside! LOVE IT.

  11. Anna says

    Did this today with my preschool class. One pool for feet and hand prints, the other pool for painting with balls. They had a great time, but I was exhausted after doing this with 10 4 year olds!

  12. says

    Love this idea!!! Very fun!
    While working at a Montessori school, we covered one of our playground slides with long pieces of paper. We than panted different kinds of balls(basketball, soccer, tennis, ping pong, volley ball)and then sent them rolling down the slide! It was very fun!

  13. Cathy says

    We used a saucer sled and tennis balls with paint. There was also a large canvas that they could fling or dribble paint on (Jackson Pollock style). We did this for our field day at the end of the year. The kids loved it!

  14. says

    One time I kept spraying my dog with a water gun and he said he’d get back at me. He came to pick me up from school and opened the window. He then sprayed me with water that had red colored paint in it. I was covered with this. After that I walked home. Lesson from this don’t spray your parents or they will get revenge.