Exploring Textures as Art Surfaces with the Toddler Art Group
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Texture Art Projects for Kids :: Exploring Different Surfaces


Exploring Textures as Art Surfaces with the Toddler Art Group

This post contains affiliate links. Last week for the toddler art group I taped a variety of materials to the studio tables with the idea of letting the kiddos explore what it felt and looked like to draw and paint on the different surfaces.

The idea was to provide a sensory exploration as well as let them experiment with how art materials interacted with different surfaces.

It was an awesome art group session! I would definitely do this again, perhaps trying different textured surfaces next time.

Here are the pics and how to ::

Texture Art Projects for Kids :: Exploring Different Surfaces

Exploring Different Textures as Art Surfaces - The Set Up

Here’s the before photo. As in before the kids descended and the surfaces were covered with paint and other art marks.

The tables are covered with ::

  • crumpled aluminum foil
  • paper towels
  • wool
  • a plastic freezer bag
  • a row of wooden popsicle sticks
  • a sheet of fingerpaint paper
  • colored tissue paper
  • the insert to an acrylic box frame
  • some plastic Easter eggs
  • and a plastic paint palette

In other words, surfaces with a variety of textures and colors that I thought would be interesting to draw and paint on.

Other ideas include ::

  • corrugated cardboard
  • bubble wrap
  • fabric
  • wax paper
  • sticky contact paper
  • sandpaper
  • and a mesh bag (the kind that onions or lemons are sold in sometimes)

There are so many fun possibilities for texture art projects for kids!

Drawing and Painting on a Variety of Textured Surfaces

First I put out the Crayola Twistables Slick Stix (oil pastels in hard plastic cases—I love these for toddlers!) so they could experiment with drawing on the different surfaces.

Exploring Different Textures as Art Surfaces with the Toddler Art Group kids

After they drew for a while, I set out some washable tempera paints and some stubby chubby paint brushes. In the photo above, Joe is painting on the plastic freezer bag with one hand and on the aluminum foil with the other.

Fiona Exploring Art in the Toddler Art Group

Even 13 month old Fiona, one of our newest members, seemed excited about the materials!

This is definitely a process-not-product activity. It’s very exploratory and seemed perfect for the toddlers, but I actually think older kids would enjoy it as well.

Perhaps I’ll set one up for Maia soon…

More ideas for texture art projects for kids 

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Exploring Textures as Art Surfaces with the Toddler Art Group


  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I love slick sticks, but they are a mess. I didn’t read the instructions, and took them to lunch for the girls to use with their portable paper pads. MISTAKE! The slick sticks were all over them. Still, the sticks are wonderful to use. The color is wonderful!
    I love this idea, by the way. Is it wool roving?

  • Reply
    [email protected] Art
    April 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    How wonderful! I suppose if the parents just had to have something to take home you could just put some paper on top of the paint and make prints from the different textures :)

  • Reply
    April 27, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I’m going to look for those Slick Stix tomorrow!!

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art book author
    April 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    i can just see their little minds churning and turning.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    April 28, 2011 at 11:52 am

    They look so eager and fascinated!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    April 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Yes, it’s wool roving. I guess, anyway. It’s wool that we’ve used for felting rocks and balls and easter eggs.
    And yes, the slick stix can be a bit messy sometimes (as can oil pastels). I find that the slick stix are less messy than oil pastels because of the plastic case that the kids hold onto as they draw.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    April 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I suppose! Or just take a pic of the kids making art and send them home with that!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    April 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I bought mine at Target, but have seen them other places as well, including the art supply store.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    April 28, 2011 at 11:49 am


  • Reply
    April 28, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This looks fun. And messy! It’s nice that you have a studio to set up messy projects in. :)

  • Reply
    April 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    This is great! I saw someone do this with an older child but cut out small squares of different textures and glued them down onto a piece of cardboard -which seemed to be more of an individual texture study for older kids.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    This is a great idea! It looks they had a lot of fun experimenting. I’ve linked up to your post on my weekly favorites here: https://play2grow.blogspot.com/2011/05/weekly-favorites-for-may-1-2011.html

  • Reply
    May 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    kids would truly enjoys this—www.tonerrefillstore.com/blog

  • Reply
    May 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    my sweetie’s going to love this, art is fun which also enhanced the creative side of a child, thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    August 5, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Jean, this week our theme was “Paper,” and I did this activity (after reading this post). It was a huge hit! First we colored on the various paper types with markers, and then painted on them…it was a true process-oriented activity that the children deeply enjoyed. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    I was working on a project and you have no dea how much this helps! My book is called different is beautiful and it uses animals to show how we are all differnet and beautiful, Now I have ideas.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    what a great idea!

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