Two trucks making tracks for painting with wheels project _ feature image

Painting with Wheels is an Easy Action Art Activity for Kids


Painting with wheels is a favorite action art activity here at The Artful Parent. It’s great for toddlers (and big kids too!) to explore painting in a new way. So get some paint and watch as a car, digger, train (you name it!) creates colorful tracks.

A green truck and blue car making painted tracks on a wooden ramp

Painting with wheels is a classic action art activity for kids of all ages. Here at The Artful Parent,  Jean started blogging about it years back with her toddler art groups and it’s still going strong as we bring you a fully updated version for the blog today.

As kids roll a vehicle in paint and then again onto paper/cardboard to print the tracks, they gaining a valuable experience through this experimentation.

A yellow car on cardboard with tracks from painting with wheels

Painting with a car (instead of a brush) begins to prompt the question of “what else can we paint with?”

This encourages an environment for the child to think creatively about their art and by extension their world.

A red car on a painted wooden ramp

If you haven’t tried this yet, it’s the perfect project for young toddlers who may be especially interested in trains, trucks, cars, and the like!

The setup is easy and did I mention, it’s fun–even for adults like me!

Painting with wheels cardboard and drop cloth set up

Painting with Wheels – Action Art for Kids

An airplane on a ramp for painting with wheels art activity for kids

1. Gather anything with wheels (paint rollers work great too!)

A cardboard tunnel and ramp setup for painting with wheels for kids art activity

2. Prepare the rolling surface

This project can be set up inside or outside! At our recent toddler art group I laid out two painted drop cloths and placed cardboard on top.

A yellow care on a cardboard ramp

I got a little carried away and created wood ramps, cardboard parking garages and tunnels with items from our recycling bin.

Toddler Art Class with Process Art and Music

If you decide to work indoors, you may wish to tape kraft or white butcher paper to a kid-sized table as Jean did with her toddler art group. Brayers or foam painting rollers are also fun instruments for painting on paper!

Kids roll cars in paint to create painted tracks on a roll of paper

The kids then moved to a 20 foot runway with lots of space to make tracks.

Girl making tracks with a car and paint on a roll of paper

As you can see, there are many possibilities!

A child pushing a car through paint for an action art activity

3. Start painting with wheels!

Gather paper plates, cake pans, trays, pizza pans and baking sheets to add paint onto. Remember to include a few larger paint trays to accomodate any bigger diggers or trucks that kids always seem to enjoy.

I squirted paint all over the trays and continued to refresh them as needed.

A boy pushing a bulldozer on a cardboard box for a wheel painting art activity

4. Time to roll!

Now comes the fun part, when it’s time to set the kids loose! Painting with wheels is an easy art activity to try with your own child, with a few friends, or at an art group.

A boy pushing a car on a wooden ramp to make painted tracks

And it works well for a wide age range making it a fun art activity to try with siblings as well.

A child pushing a blue car on a wooden ramp to make painted tracks

There’s something rather mesmerizing and unpredictable as you watch the magic happen. I encourage you to give it a try!

A red car on a painted wood ramp

And here’s a fun extension of this project–add shaving cream marbling to the mix like Colors Are Magic did with their version of car painting.

Interested in more action art for kids? Try some of these fun ideas below:

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Painting with Wheels is an Easy Action Art Activity for Kids

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