Mini Monets and Mommies: Create Abstract Art with Frozen Paints

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Create Abstract Art with Frozen Paints

I’m a fan of abstract art. Ok, not so much of viewing it in a museum. Instead, more of kids’ art activities that involve some sort of abstract process. I’ve spent years teaching children in an art museum. I’ve sat the kiddos down in front of everything from ancient Egyptian pottery to Jackson Pollock’s paint splatters and gotten the chance to hear some fairly funny insights. My absolute favorites always come from the more abstract pieces.

Abstract Art

Something interesting happens when a child looks at art that doesn’t look like ‘art’ in the traditional sense. In my experience (which I’m in no way generalizing to every child out there) the kids who I’ve taught viewed abstract art through the lens of being child-made. It looked so familiar to them, so much like what they create, that they talked about it in very much the same way that they talked about each other’s art. It was familiar – not foreign like a Renaissance ‘masterpiece’ or 19th century landscape.

I hear a lot of, “Hey, I could have made that” or, “Yeah, my kid could have painted that” when adults talk about abstract art. I don’t really ever have a good response when it comes to what the difference is between a 4-year-old’s paint splatter and an adult-made piece that’s worth millions and hangs on a museum’s wall. There are all kinds of answers that range from, “Well, you didn’t think to paint that” to, “The artist has a deep-seeded intentionality and there is an obvious symbolism to the work” that I’ve heard others say in reference to these questions of artistic creation. In many ways I think that an adult has to let go and get that special freedom of thought (and creativity) that children have back. The ability to create without fear and let art by art – without trading the fun for finesse. In that respect, I’m big on letting children explore the process and be abstract if they want to be.

All of that said, sometimes ‘abstract art activities’ can become old hat. It’s yet another Pollock splatter painting with temperas and thin brushes or the same old Picasso-esque mixed-up face shape collage. I like to add a little something different (even if it is just slightly different from the norm). This time I’m doing a paint splatter, but with ice instead of the tempera/brush technique. It’s part science, part art and all abstract. It also has a little something extra special – glitter! If your child isn’t into the sparkly stuff (does any child really not like glitter?), you can leave that out.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        An ice cube tray

·        Card stock paper (or another thick paper)

·        Food coloring

·        Water

·        Glitter (optional)

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Drip a few drops of food coloring into each compartment of the ice cube tray.

2.     Add water.

3.     Sprinkle the glitter in.
Frozen art

4.     Freeze the paints.

5.     When completely frozen, pop the icy water colors out onto the paper. I suggest prepping for the mess by putting a garbage bag or some other tarp-type barrier down on the work surface. You can also take this frozen activity outside. If it’s warm out, the temperature speeds up the melting process – making it easier to spread the color around.

6.     Keep three or more cubes on the paper.
Kids' Activity

7.     Gently fold the ends of the paper together. Don’t crease it, just make a curved cup.

8.     Jiggle, toss and bounce the cubes around. This splatters the paint and mixes the colors together.

9.     Open the paper to see what the frozen art looks like.
Children's painting

10.  Repeat if your child wants. Add more colors or keep the same ones on the paper.

Are you looking for more kids’ art activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Process Art for Kids on Pinterest.


  1. I love these ice-painting ideas. Thanks for linking up with this week's #pinitparty and congrats on being this weeks featured pinned :)

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