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Kids Arts and Crafts Activities

Action Art for Kids: Try Painting with a Drill & Brush!


Action art is a combination of two things kids really love to do: MOVE and CREATE. Try painting with a drill as a super fun process art activity for kids

Kids Art Supplies

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)

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
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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.)

MaryAnn Kohl and Barbara Zaborowski cowrote a fantastic book called Action Art: Hands-On Active Art Adventures all about, well, you probably guessed it: Action Art!

Here’s a video showing Action Art for Kids. And don’t forget to scroll down for even more great ideas.

Action Art for Kids

At the Artful Parent, we love Action Art for so many reasons and this book is bursting at the seams with fun 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.

“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!”

Jean Van’t Hul

These art activity 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.

Splat Painting with Kids in Action

“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.” – MaryAnn Kohl and Barbara Zaborowski

drill painting

Drill Painting for Kids

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

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 ideas in the book, this one included variations and more ideas to explore, which we definitely will.

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

child drill painting

Ready to try this with your kids?

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

Have fun!

spin art is fun action art

More Action Art Ideas for Kids

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Action Art for Kids: Try Painting with a Drill & Brush!


  • Reply
    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

    • Reply
      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!

  • Reply
    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.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Would love to know where to get these books from please

    • Reply
      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.

  • Reply
    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


  • Reply
    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.!

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

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

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