Splat painting is easy peasy and super fun for active kids. This simple action art activity involves hitting paint-soaked cotton balls with a small mallet.
Updated June 2021
Splat painting is fun, fun, fun.
There are different ways to do this action art activity, but the way we’ve done splat painting with kids couldn’t be simpler, or more fun!
- Dip cotton balls in paint.
- Place paint-soaked cotton ball on paper.
- Hit it with a small wooden mallet.
And watch as paint splats and splatters out of the cotton ball.
Easy peasy and super fun for active kids!
Here’s a brief video showing splat painting in action. And then keep scrolling for a quick tutorial.
Splat Painting – Action Art for Kids
- Cotton balls
- Small cups (we actually used jelly jars)
- Liquid watercolor paint (or food coloring)
- Watercolor paper or card stock
- Small wooden mallet*
- Set up for splat painting
As you can imagine, splat painting is a tad messy and is a great outdoor art activity. A hard surface works best, as you’ll be pounding with a mallet. We set up a small kids’ table in the backyard, but you could also do this on a sidewalk or driveway.
To set up, we put liquid watercolor paint in small cups and watered it down. You could also use food coloring or even tempera paint.
We also taped down the corners of watercolor paper to hold it in place as the kids pounded and the paint splatted.
- Dip cotton balls in paint
You can do them one at a time, as you’re going to use the cotton ball. Or you put a cotton ball into each paint cup to soak at the same time.
- Place paint-soaked cotton ball on paper
You can transfer the cotton balls from paint cups to paper with a spoon, tongs, or fingers.
- Hit it with a small wooden mallet
And watch as paint splats and splatters out of the cotton ball. The kids got such a thrill out of watching the trajectory of the paint splatters. Plus, of course, they loved pounding the cotton balls with their little wooden mallets.
Remove the cotton ball with a spoon, fingers, or tongs…
…and repeat with more colors and more balls as desired.
If your kids are looking for more opportunities to get messy, try these Splat Painting ideas, too!
- Drop paint-covered cotton balls onto paper from a distance (standing up, on a chair, or from a porch)
- Fill water balloons with DIY chalk paint and drop onto the sidewalk (on Growing a Jeweled Rose)
- Splat painting with paint dots and cotton rounds (on A Crafty Morning)
More Action Art Ideas for Kids
- Splatter Painting with Kids
- Painting with Wheels: Easy Action Art Activity for Kids
- Action Art for Kids: Try Painting with a Drill & Brush!
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