Painting with wheels

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We were finally well enough to host toddler art group yesterday! It had been at least a month, I think, between all our various illnesses. So it was good to have the group over for some painting and playing and catching up.


For our art activity, we painted with cars, running the wheels through shallow dishes of fingerpaint then along the paper.


They all seemed to enjoy it, but Joe, who just turned two, especially got into it.


His cars traveled between several pieces of paper, including some that others were working on (ownership of art doesn't have much meaning at this age).


I also got out the mini-paint rollers after a while for a similar painting experience. Here Sylvia is painting with a roller.

Have you tried painting with car wheels or rollers? If not, I recommend it!

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  1. Barbara Zaborowski says

    Besides cars (big ones, little ones, little ones with big wheels, motorcycles, etc.) we’ve used some cheap r.c. cars with our 4s. The most art-phobic boys love working the controllers. Then we also took a really big, low-walled box, put paper inside, and painted with old-fashioned pull-back cars (you pull them back and they go forward). Both the pull-back cars and the came from the Dollar Store.

  2. Elin says

    I tried this with my 1 year old son, but he was more interested in painting the car! Occassionaly he still wants to do some car painting (he is almost 2 years).
    However today he enjoyed driving the cars over his play dough instead.
    The same thing happened when I wanted to do some potatoe stamping with my daughter, she started painting the potatoes, so then we started painting her Schleich animals and had lots of fun! She must have been around 1-2 years as well.

  3. Karen says

    I love working with my kids at school everyday! They do the quirkiest things, and are so creative. awesome activity.

  4. says

    Painting with wheels is a favorite activity here since my son is completely obsessed with construction vehicles. Love this!

  5. dynajenn says

    Stomping dinos through the paint is also fun, as well as horses and playmobil dudes! I can’t remember if I have seen marble painting here (in a cake pan), also fun!

  6. says

    I haven’t tried this, but I think i shall! We have done printing with other materials — but cars! How simple and fun!

  7. says

    My 2 yr old son is completely vehicle obsessed, so he just adores painting with cars. Actually now that I think about it, those busy little cars seem to get involved with most of the art/sensory activities we do around here :) He especially enjoys driving his cars through goop (which I think you call oobleck). He thinks it’s great fun.
    I’m really excited to be starting up our own little toddler art group soon. Thanks Jean for all the inspiration :)

  8. says

    This is such a great idea! We set up a new art space in the sunroom (I have a little tour on my blog at the moment). I could see us putting the paper on the floor and rolling/wheeling/pushing all sorts of things on it!

  9. Nancy says

    My boys painted with cars when they were in kindergarten and they put them in a box lined with paper and tried tilting the box; I think the teacher used the shallow cardboard boxes that drinks come in so that it is easier for the kids to manage. I love the idea of using construction vehicles or other cars with different tire patterns. What fun!

  10. Eliza says

    How funny! I JUST did this with my boys yesterday :) We have about 150 die cast cars and we selected just a few of different sizes. We used paint brushes to apply paint to the wheels so that the boys could use different colors for each wheel and they had a blast!

  11. says

    I love this, I can’t believe it’s never occurred to me. We have lots of cars with lots of different tire treads, I will go put this in our ideas kitty as soon as I’m done here. Thank you once again Jean for a brilliantly simple idea.

  12. says

    We’ve done this before, too! It is so fun! One time my boys had to gather all of their cars around them, try every one and see which ones made textured tracks!

  13. Leisa Dreps says

    Wow! What a genius way to get the kids to do painting, especially the boys. The love for cars and art is not a usual combination, so great job for putting those two together seamlessly, Jean! Maybe that little boy right there will grow up as an exterior paint designer for a car company someday.