Outdoor Art: Marble Painting

My five-year-old isn’t much of a craft guy, but he does love to play and experiment with paint.  He’s usually up for art if it’s more process-oriented than result-oriented.  A favorite is painting with marbles.

I like to do this activity outside, as the the marble, covered with paint, tends to jump out of the container sometimes.  Better outside than across the carpet!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tempura paint (I prefer the powdered kind, so I can mix the paint kind of watery)
  • Marbles
  • Cups (one for each color of paint used)
  • Spoons (one for each cup)
  • Paper (or, as used today, paper plates)
  • Some kind of tray (shoe box, cake pan, baking pan, serving tray, etc)
  • Marbles (one for each color of paint, extras if you’re doing this with a larger number of kids)

Getting ready:

  • Pour or mix paints in each cup.  I’ve found the marbles roll around better when the paints are more watery, and less sticky)
  • Put a marble and spoon in each cup
  • Affix paper in the tray.  If using a tray larger than the paper, I recommend taping the paper down.  If paper is larger than tray, cut paper down to size.  Today, we used paper plates, which fit inside a round cake pan.  I just had to bend the edges of the paper plate up a little to fit into the pan.

Now paint!

  • Have child spoon a marble or two (or more!) onto the paper in the tray.  If desired, also spoon some extra paint with it.  Today, we used one marble at a time.  My son experimented, doing one painting with just enough paint to cover the marbles.  On a later painting, he glopped spoonfulls of paint with each marble.  It’s fun to see the different results!
  • Tilt the tray back and forth and around to allow the marble(s) to paint the paper.
  • When child is done with a marble, pick it up with a spoon, and put it back in the color corresponding paint cup (or rinse off with water first)

Photos of my son, marble painting this morning…

You may also enjoy…  “Outdoor Art:  Splatter Painting”


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