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Kids Arts and Crafts Activities Painting Watercolors

11 Painting Activities for Preschoolers

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Process art is wonderful for all ages, but especially younger artists. Here are The Artful Parent’s top favorite painting activities for preschoolers that are open ended and so much fun!

Bubble wrap printing - painting activities for preschoolers
Photo by Rachel Withers

Looking for painting activities for preschoolers?

Here are 11 of our all-time favorites that are process-oriented and developmentally appropriate yet super fun. Everything from spin painting and puffy paint to watercolor resist and shaving cream marbling.

And, bonus! The results are usually pretty cool, too.

First, a quick note about paints.

This post contains affiliate links.

We use and love a variety of paints, but our favorites for the preschool age are:

Painting Activities for Preschoolers

Spin Art for Kids
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

1. Spin painting

Spin painting is such a fun painting activity for preschoolers as well as older children! We use a salad spinner for our spin art, but I’ve seen this done with a special purchased spin art kit as well.

painting activities for preschoolers with marbles
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

2. Marble rolling

I don’t know about your kids, but mine love marbles. And painting with paint covered marbles is a favorite that we return to again and again. We’ve even used this technique to make spider webs at Halloween!

pink, purple and blue splatter painting
Photo by Rachel Withers

3. Splatter painting

Who doesn’t love splatter and drip painting? This one is a messier, action-oriented art activity best suited to outdoors.

Body tracing for kids
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

4. Body tracing and painting

Body tracing art is a lovely way for preschoolers to create self portraits, work on self-image, and to work large.

Shaving cream Marbling for kids
Photo by Rachel Withers

5. Shaving cream marbling

If you haven’t tried shaving cream marbling yet, you must! Here’s instruction and tips for getting started if this is your first time. And be sure to try easy DIY Marbling for Kids. It’s so fun and so beautiful!

Once you get bitten by the bug, you’ll want to try 6 Ways to Marble Paper.

Photo by Rachel Withers
Photo by Rachel Withers

6. Wheel and roller painting

Who says you need paint brushes to paint? Try rolling your paint onto paper with a mini paint roller (sold for painting trim) or rolling the wheels of a toy car through a puddle of paint.

Painting-shaving-cream-donuts_instagram
Photo by Catalina Gutierrez

7. Shaving cream painting

I couldn’t write a post about favorite art activities for preschoolers without including shaving cream painting! We’ve done this on mirrors, the window, plastic toys––and now on donuts (thanks to our contributing writer Catalina Guiterrez)!

Watercolor wax resist painting
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

8. Watercolor Wax Resist Painting

A childhood classic, watercolor resist can be done a number of different ways. These artworks are fun to make and beautiful enough to give as gifts.

Salty Watercolors
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

9. Salty Watercolors

This is one of these art activities that never grow old. Watch the magic of paint traveling along salt-covered glue lines. Adaptable for various seasons and holidays (spiderweb, snowflakes, hearts, etc) or fun for every day process art!

Bubble wrap printing for kids
Photo by Rachel Withers

10. Bubble Wrap Printing

Kids love rolling and painting bubble wrap and then printing it onto paper, canvas and cardboard. Create layers of printing with this easy and fun technique. A wonderful art activity for a variety of ages!

Adding Rubbing Alcohol bubbles to Watercolor waves in the ocean
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

11. Watercolors + salt and alcohol

Kids love to see how watercolors react with different materials! This post has a lot of fun watercolor techniques to try with children.

MORE Activities for Preschoolers

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11 Painting Activities for Preschoolers

6 Comments

  • Reply
    CreatifulKids
    August 12, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    What a great collection of painting techniques! I also tried painting with egg with my preschool kids, and it turned out quite nice! Have a look at our egg art for kids and our masterpieces :-)

  • Reply
    Lisa
    August 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    This couldn’t have come at a better time! I am starting a preschool teaching job in a few weeks. We will be doing all of these at some point, I promise. I will let you know how it goes!

  • Reply
    Erica Smith
    August 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Wonderful! As an art teacher of both teenagers, and adults reconnecting with their creativity, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to let kids get messy while they’re making. Not only is art good for their fine motor skills, it’s important for their sensory development, helps build vocab, is great for their self-esteem, teaches other skills like tidying up… and is just good fun!

    It’s bittersweet to see teens and adults getting so excited about mushing paint around when their fingers because it’s something they missed out on as kids. But then again, it’s never too late to be a kid! :)

  • Reply
    Katrina
    August 14, 2014 at 7:21 am

    It’s an awesome piece of writing for all the web visitors;
    they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

  • Reply
    Tanya Miller Poling
    September 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks for showing these great ideas! My daughter(4 yr old) favorite is painting using little spray bottles. I put paint and mostly water in a spray bottle and we use stencils! The reveal when we take the stencils off is so exciting! You could go around the house or kitchen to find somethings that could make great stencils if you didn’t have any.. You could also use water colors or gelato shavings and water in the spray bottles. You have to make sure to put a plastic table cloth down and make sure there is nothing near that could get ruined if accidentally sprayed! :)

  • Reply
    Theresa Rienzi
    December 16, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks I will try some of these!

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