Mini Monets and Mommies: Kids' Impressionist Art Activity: Painting Without a Brush!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kids' Impressionist Art Activity: Painting Without a Brush!

Painting without a brush? That’s right! Kids’ art activities don’t always require the ‘materials’ that you might think they need. Before hitting the craft store, take a look around you. This Monet-inspired children’s art exploration gives your little artist the chance to explore Impressionism, while getting into nature.

Plant art

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How? Let’s start with Impressionism. Way back when (I’m talking about back in the days of Monet, Manet and Degas) the Impressionist painters took their easels outside and captured what they saw – the setting, the season, the time of day and the natural light. So, with that in mind we’re going outside to paint too!

Okay, maybe you don’t have an easel. Don’t worry about buying one (or truing to DIY one). Your child can put her paper on the ground or any other solid surface – such as a picnic table, clip board or even a thick piece of a reused cardboard box.

Now you might be asking, “How is my child going to paint like an Impressionist, without a paintbrush?” Look around you. You’re outside, and what do you see? Ask your child. She’ll tell you – trees, plants and other growing greens. Grab a few leaves and make your own brush. The leaf brush adds texture and is a fun way for your child to explore making art.
Children's art

And, now on to the actual painting process…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Cardstock paper

·        Leaves

·        Scissors

·        Tempera paint

·        A rubber band (or yarn)

Here’s What to Do:

1. Bundle the leaves together.

2. Bind the leaves with the band, or tie them with yarn.
Kids' activity

3. Cut the top of the leaf bundle, making slits to create a ‘brush’.

4. Pour the paint onto a palette (we use wax paper as a less expensive option). Try using only the primary colors (red, blue and yellow) plus white. This gives your child the chance to mix her own hues.

5. Take a look around (your child should be outside). Ask your child what she sees. Talk about the light, the time of day, the time of year and anything else in the environment.

6. Start painting! Your child can paint the grass, the trees, the skies or whatever else she sees. Dip the leaf ‘brush’ into the paint and dab it onto the paper. Layer color on top of color. If the brush starts filling with too many colors, make a new one.
Plant activity

7. Add smaller details with a rolled leaf. Simply roll up the leaf, like a scroll, and use the end as a paintbrush.
Monet painting

Are you looking for more kids’ art activities? Try out these famous artist ideas:

Shaving Cream Monet Painting
Monet art

Van Gogh Clay Paint
Kids' art

Renoir Garden Art
Renoir art

And, follow us on Pinterest!


  1. I'm an oil painter so I'll take a stab at answering. For me at least, I can estimate the lights and shadows, but I cannot be detailed or get little things like reflected light without a reference. Maybe that'll come with practice, or Get Essay Done. I think most artists (that go for realism) use references most of the time.

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  14. 1. Mix a small amount of water with your paint to thin it out.

    2. Lay the paper flat.

    3. Add drops of paint to the paper.

    4. Slowly lift the paper on one side, allowing the paint to flow across the surface. Continue in different directions to make lines.

    5. Let the paint dry flat.

    6. Check out your painting!

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  16. Sponges. Sponges are a great substitute for paint brushes because they can be used to create different textures and are easy to work with. ...
    Brayer. ...
    Your fingers. ...
    Baby wipes. ...
    Palette/Painting knives. ...
    Old credit/gift card. ...
    Straws. ...
    Brush pens.

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