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Splat Painting: Fun Action Art for Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
July 14, 2021

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.

splat painting

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.

Painting with Kids in Action

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

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*Make your own by hot-gluing a large wood bead to the end of a wooden dowel as we did. Or use a drumstick or the mallet that comes with a xylophone set or a pounding toy. You can also use a spoon!


  1. 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.

    child at table to splat paint

  2. 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.

    materials for splat painting

  3. Place paint-soaked cotton ball on paper

    You can transfer the cotton balls from paint cups to paper with a spoon, tongs, or fingers.

    Splat Painting with Kids with Paint-Soaked Cotton Balls

  4. 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.

    yellow and blue splat painting

  5. Repeat!

    Remove the cotton ball with a spoon, fingers, or tongs…

    Splat Painting with Kids - Placing Paint-Soaked Cotton Ball on Paper

    …and repeat with more colors and more balls as desired.

    Splat Painting with Kids - Pounding with a Wood Mallet

If your kids are looking for more opportunities to get messy, try these Splat Painting ideas, too!

Painting with watercolors and spoon

More Action Art Ideas for Kids

Pin it for Later

splat painting pinterest

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