Try this fun bath mat printmaking activity for kids to create beautiful abstract art prints. Printmaking project and post by Benares Angeley of Children’s Art Lab.
Ideas come to me…at TJ Maxx. I’m not huge into shopping, but I do like to wander the aisles.
Office supply stores and old hardware stores are my favorites. I feel cozy and calm checking out highlighters and varieties of post-it notes, or perusing bins of bolts and screws. And inevitably I stumble upon materials I can use at the art studio I own, Children’s Art Lab.
This particular day found me at TJ Maxx, looking for a set of new sheets for my daughter. I totally did not expect to find an aisle dedicated to printmaking with young children—and I’m pretty sure the employees at TJ Maxx wouldn’t label it as such, either!
Inspiration struck me in the bath mat aisle—the plastic, bumpy kind of mats that go inside the tub so you don’t slip and fall.
They come in beautiful blues and greens, and are made up of all kinds of patterns—raised circles, diamonds, even ones that are a little “fuzzy”, maybe for a foot massage in the tub.
These looked perfect for some giant printmaking activities! And the price was right, too—only around $5 for a super cool printmaking tool that I knew my preschool age class would love!
Bath Mat Printmaking Activity For Kids
- Bath mats in various sizes, textures, and patterns
- Washable tempera paint
- Large paintbrushes
- Rollers and/or brayers
- Large sheets of paper, 12”x18”
1. Observe the patterns, shapes and lines in the bathmats.
First I asked the kids if they recognized this material. They all said “that’s the thing in my bathtub!” or “mommy puts that there so I don’t fall!”
Then I encouraged them to notice the various shapes and textures. Just running our hands over the mats was a delightfully bumpy and silly experience that brought on smiles and giggles!
2. Bring on the paint!
This particular group of kids (ages 3-5) LOVES to get messy, so I knew they would dig spreading paint over the mats.
We used brushes, rollers, and even fingers and hands to cover the surface of the mats with paints. I limited the colors of the paints to reds and pinks so we wouldn’t wind up with a muddy brown muck.
Honestly, many kids could be perfectly happy stopping at this step.
Spreading the paint over the mat is a wonderful sensory experience, and some kids loved the challenge of getting paint over the entire surface.
This was also fun to work on in pairs—one child on either side of the table, working together.
3. Make a print!
If your child wants to take this a step further, you can make a print!
We used large paper, 12”x18”. Lay the paper over the paint-covered mat and press gently with your hands.
Then, pull off the paper for the big reveal—we like to say “voila!” for extra emphasis!
I hope you enjoy this fun and easy bath mat printmaking activity!
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