Action Art for Kids
Kids Arts and Crafts Activities

Action Art for Kids


Action art is the best of childhood — a combination of two things kids really love to do: MOVE and CREATE. This Action Art book is full of fun art ideas!

Action Art for Kids

“Action art! Art in Action! This is the best of childhood, right here—a combination of two things kids really love to do: MOVE and CREATE. MaryAnn’s art books have guided us for years now and this one with Barbara Zaborowski is truly inspiring. I’m so excited about these active art ideas!”

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I wrote that blurb for MaryAnn Kohl’s brand new kids’ art book that she wrote with Barbara Zaborowski.

Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures

Many of you know how beloved and influential MaryAnn Kohl and her books are to me. She played an important role in my life and artful parenting long before I met her or interviewed her on The Artful Parent (and again and again)

Kids Art Quote

The first art activities I ever did with kids came from her books. Her positive approach, encouraging attitude, and excitement about kids art are infectious.

“Process art is vital to child development.” – MaryAnn F. Kohl

Barbara Zaborowski may not be as widely known in the kids’ art field, but she is the one we would all want as our children’s preschool teacher. Someone who is enthusiastic, who embraces experimentation, and who is not afraid of a little mess in the name of fun and learning.

(If you’d like to know more about her approach to kids’ art and early childhood education, you can read my interview with Barbara here.)

Here’s a video showing Action Art for Kids, well, in action! And don’t forget to scroll down for even more great ideas. Let’s dive into some action art!

Action Art for Kids

Kids Art Supplies

This book is bursting at the seams with fun action art ideas for kids. Everything from art hockey and pounding paint to snap painting and dancing blottos. And most use art materials you already have at home.

These action art ideas would be super fun for kids, whether at home or in a school or camp setting, with a single kid, an art playdate with a friend, or as a group party activity.

Action Art for Kids Quote

Why action art?

“We all know that children prefer to be active, and action art incorporates the child’s need for activity with the always important need for creativity. The art experiences are based on the philosophy that children will learn from the process of creating, and that the finished product is the result of that process, not the goal.” ~ from the Action Art book introduction

Action Art Book for Parents and Teachers

What’s in the Action Art Book?

Chapter 1 – Smacking, squeezing, tapping

Chapter 2 – Rolling, spinning, swinging

Chapter 3 – Blowing, exploding, smooshing

Chapter 4 – Toys, tools, utensils

Chapter 5 – Up, down, all around

Drill Painting with Kids

Drill Painting – An Action Art Activity

Oh my goodness! My kids had SO much fun with this electric drill painting activity!

Drill Painting with Kids

I inserted a paint brush in our electric drill, where the drill bit normally goes, and the kids went to town, dipping the brush in paint then squeezing the drill handle and painting with the rotating paint brush.

As with all the art activities in Action Art, this one included variations and more ideas to explore, which we definitely will.

“Repeat art activities often to build skills, techniques, and confidence.”

Ready to do some action art with your kids?

I highly recommend this book to parents, teachers, caregivers, and camps. And definitely anyone who is considering throwing an art party. :)

Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Barbara Zaborowski is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bright Ring Publishing, among other places.

You can also ask your local independent bookstore or library to order a copy if they don’t have it already.

Have fun!

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Action art is the best of childhood -- a combination of two things kids really love to do: MOVE and CREATE. This Action Art book is full of fun art ideas!
Action Art for Kids


  • Avatar
    June 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Hi, Jean. MaryAnn Kohl here!! I’m in love with the video you made of drill painting from my new book with Barbara Zaborowski… “Action Art”!!! You make me want to get my drill out and do this all over again. Thank you for sharing how fun and easy this book is. I hope everyone loves it. Thank you over and over again!!!!
    \Love, MaryAnn

    • Avatar
      Jean Van't Hul
      June 23, 2015 at 7:22 am

      So glad you like the video, MaryAnn! Thanks for being such an inspiration for all of us!

  • Avatar
    Fiona Wood
    June 22, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    That drill painting looks like so much fun! I already have some of your books MaryAnn Kohl and love them! I love the Science Art one and used some of the ideas for a workshop I ran last school holidays. I will have to purchase this new book and run a workshop on Action Art (we have done splatter painting and a few of these activities yet looks like you have loads of new ideas). Thanks for your enthusiasm and thanks Jean for sharing with us – I also love that video.

  • Avatar
    June 30, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Would love to know where to get these books from please

    • Avatar
      Jean Van't Hul
      June 30, 2015 at 4:59 am

      Andrea, you can order them online from Amazon or Bright Ring (I included links in the post) or ask your local bookstore or library to order a copy if they don’t already have them.

  • Avatar
    July 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Hello ! I’m a frensh teacher in a small marocan preschool ! I like so much your ideas ! You’re so creative ! I try all your technics I’m Fan !

    Thank you


  • Avatar
    April 18, 2020 at 4:30 am

    This look like what we need. I have 2 boys (5 and 9) both with lots of imagination and creativity. But sitting down at the table doing art is not their favourite, even with experimenting with colours is not their favourite, I have to “push” for them to use 3 colours. So back yard action art might get them into it.!

    • Avatar
      Jean Van't Hul
      April 19, 2020 at 6:08 am

      Yes! Sounds like you have what you need, Johanna! :)

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