Looking for some new painting ideas for kids? Think “outside the canvas” with these unique painting activities. Ditch the white paper and try these fun ways to paint with kids.
What are some painting ideas for kids?
There’s so much more to painting with kids than white paper and “paint something.”
Some kids love that open-ended, full permission type activity but for many, it’s overwhelming and they paint for less time than it took you to pull out all the paint and paper.
That doesn’t work for me or my kids (most of the time).
They like when painting has some sort of purpose, gimmick, or a little something extra.
What are the best paints for kids?
Busy Toddler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
There are 3 types of paints for kids to highlight today: washable tempera, liquid watercolors, and watercolor paint.
This is the most commonly used paint in schools and I started using it at home with my kids instead of the more liquidy kids washable paint. It’s still washable but bright, vibrant, and dries quickly.
The OG of kid paint. I’m sharing our favorite brand because it has a few more colors than the traditional set you may be more familiar with. I love the way these colors go onto paper.
You may never have heard of this (or be a seasoned pro). Liquid watercolors are exactly what they sound like: a liquid version of the classic kid paint. It’s washable. It’s vibrant. It has so many possibilities from using it with brushes to pipettes.
Tip – Painting with kids doesn’t have to be stressful
Remember that painting with kids doesn’t have to be a disaster.
A little bit of pre-planning and a few notes from a helpful lady on the Internet (that’s me), can make painting projects with kids really enjoyable.
The key: you need a game plan. Stop winging it.
RELATED: Read all my painting with kids tips in this fabulous blog post.
20+ best painting ideas for kids
Below are the best painting ideas for kids from blogs all around the Internet. No need to keep looking on Pinterest to find interesting ways to paint with kids – the best ideas are right here.
As you look through these ideas, remember to think about your child, their interests, and what may hold their attention. Don’t focus on the age of the child: focus on their stage in life and what they might like.
Paint a Cake
Tape boxes together in a tower and paint a cake. When I say “think beyond the white canvas,” this is exactly what I mean.
Wet on Wet Painting
Have you ever painted with watercolor onto a wet surface? It’s a pretty magical effect and worth investigating.
Art with Hammers
Hammers? Yes. Bubble wrap. Always. Combine these two and you have a memorable art and color mixing experience kids will never forget.
Outdoor Toy Paint
Let the kids play “extreme makeover backyard edition” by painting their toys with washable paint. The paint rinses off but the memories stay (how cutesy was that line?!).
Go grab the squeegee from your shower right now. You can paint with it. From toddlers to my 40-year-old husband, this technique is something special.
Paint freezes and it’s amazing. You need an ice cube tray, paint, and craft sticks. Oh, and the directions in the post (linked below).
Nail Salon Art
Doesn’t this look amazing? A nail salon on cardboard. It’s so much easier than an actual nail salon with kids.
Rainbow Sponge Art
Have a kiddo obsessed with rainbows? This is the best activity for making them. You need a sponge and washable paint – and the rainbows can begin!
Paint on Ice Cubes
You can paint on ice cubes. And the paint freezes a little as it touches. And when it melts it becomes a colorful water pouring station. Have I sold you on this?
This activity has been viral for years and for good reasons: squirt bottles and watery paint belong together.
Bath Tub Art Studio
Let your toddler paint in the tub. And your big kids too. This is such a fun use for washable paint and a great way to paint indoors.
All About Me Art
Let your kids paint their outline. It’s amazing to see how they see themselves and what they choose to represent. This is an all ages art project.
Cotton Ball Splat
It’s amazing. Cotton balls with paint and fly swatters. People, the results will make your day. You’ll 100% give this a try with the kids.
Pointillism a great art technique to introduce to kids – and this activity is perfect for doing it. If you have a meticulous child who loves detail: this may quickly become their favorite way to paint.
Guess what kids love? Their name. Give the people what they want and the people want to see their name giant and colorful.
Homemade Puff Paint
Ok so technically, this doesn’t use paint: you make the paint! It’s fun and easy, and uses ingredients you probably have on hand.
Tape Resist Art
Here’s what cool about tape resist: the tape creates the lines. No matter what age or stage paints this, the tape create cool divisions and clean lines. Toddlers to big kids: this turns out so cool.
Watercolor and Lemons
Yup. Lemons and watercolor. This is a combination science and art activity, and trust me: it’s not one to miss.
Draw a bunch of shapes on paper or cardboard and let kids paint it. It’s that simple. Kids creating art doesn’t mean they have to start with a blank canvas.
Use your forks to make puffer fish and explore painting without a brush. Using non-traditional items as “paint brushes” opens up a world of possibilities.
Paint the Toys
Grab some plastic toys and some washable paint. Let your kids have a ball redesigning their favorites. When they finish, toss the toys and the kids in the bath.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whenever you are ready and feel like they’re enjoy the experience AND it won’t become an all you can eat, non-toxic paint buffet. My best advice, though: try. Don’t wait. Give it a go on a small scale. This is like a food exposure. Little by little, let them grow and learn how to use paint.
Art provides children a dynamic way to express feelings, convey emotions, develop creativity, explore their imagination, build concentration skills, motor skills, and dexterity. Art can be messy with kids: but the benefits outweigh the need for a mid-day bath.
It’s ironic that washable paint doesn’t always feel super washable. If washable paint gets on your child’s clothing, try this: rinse it with warm water and apply hand soap. Rub the fabric against itself to activate the soap. Add a little more and soap, then let it sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat until the stain comes out before you ever toss it in the wash.