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Summer after summer I taught a children’s art camp called ‘Make a Mess’. It was wildly popular. Why? Plenty of the parents who I spoke to admitted that they really, truly wanted their children to experience intense process activities that involved splatters, squishes and more. But, they also didn’t want the mess at home. I can understand. We still have tempera caked on our dining room walls from a balloon paint experiment gone wrong (I’ll admit it, this was totally my fault – you should never, ever pop a paint-covered balloon that is still wet).
Let’s say you’re ready for the mess. What kinds of kids’ art activities should you put on the afternoon play agenda?
There’s basically a buffer of options. So much so that you can ready about our ‘art buffet’ here. If you want more (or the kids are begging for more), I’ll suggest combining a few materials into a multi-media artwork extraordinaire. Use tempera paints, modeling clay (your child can stretch it and even ‘finger paint’ with it), chalk, oil pastels, crayons, glue, glitter, fabric, paper scraps and anything else you happen to have on hand.
I’m a fan of color mixing, and add it into almost every art activity. Make a mess and pour quarter-sized pools of paint on a piece of wax paper. Let your little artist drip, drop, swirl and blend the colors together onto a piece of paper with he hands.
Still want more? Of course you do – and so does your child. Here are a few of my favorite messy art activities!
1. Mud painting (yep, it’s just like it sounds) from Clare’s Little Tots.
2. Buggy and Buddy painted with yarn in this process art activity.
3. Take your toddler outside for some canvas (and possibly body) painting like Arts & Crackers did!
4. Paint print with real flowers from Here Comes the Girls.
5. Kidz Activities made melting crayon art.
6. Mix colors with frozen ooblek, from Learning and Exploring through Play.
7. Messy Little Monster painted, but with water pistols!
8. Try Mess for Less’s bubble wrap stomp painting. Your kids will thank you.
9. Is it raining? Kitchen Floor Crafts made this watercolor in the rain art.
10. Picklebums did finger painting with extras – like potato mashers, cardboard and forks.
11. Rainy Day Mum combined art and science into one baking soda painting activity.
12. Paint with a cork like Best Toys 4 Toddlers suggests.
13. Getting moving with Something 2 Offer’s Jackson Pollock action painting.
14. School Time Snippets painted with bouncy balls. Really!
15. Learn with Play at Home made squirty foaming paint.
16. Our Whimsical Days smashed eggs (plastic ones) in this splatter paint activity.
17. Squirt, drip and pour with Cutting Tiny Bites process art.
18. Get super-messy with Mosswood Connection’s balloon painting.
19. EZE Breezy made 3 ingredient puffy paint!
20. Or, make puff paint clouds like Schooling a Monkey did.
21. Get sparkling with School Time Snippet’s shiny materials collage.
22. Try Our Whimsical Days’ fly swatter painting.
23. Get messy while getting clean with Messy Little Monster’s homemade bath paints.
24. Learning and Explore through Play painted on foil.
25. Paint with dinosaurs with Clare’s Little Tots idea.
26. Make a tape resist that also doubles as a splatter painting, like Buggy and Buddy did.
27. Make a mega artwork outside with Here Comes the Girls giant painting.
Or try some of our favorite MESSY ART ideas
28. Finger paint with sand.
29. Finger paint with clay.
30. Make shaving cream paint with glitter too.
31. Create frozen art with ice cubes.
32. Reuse an old fruit container to make a shaker painting.
33. Turn shaving cream into a Monet-style work of art.