Summertime means enjoying outdoor activities such as going hiking or heading to the pool. Here at The Messy Artist, we’ve brought the pool INSIDE to do a fun art project with our younger students. It is a great physical art activity that gets the kids thinking about creating art in a non-traditional way – and to inspire them to look around them for other ways to create art from things they haven’t considered before.
Age Level: 3- 6 years
- To learn about primary colors and color mixing.
- Gravity and texture are also concepts that can be discussed.
- To get kids to think creatively about making art.
- To use large muscle groups in creation.
- To foster teamwork in making their paintings.
- Kids or dog swimming pool (ours is a dog pool)
- Tempera paint in squeezable containers (two primary colors, and white)
- Golf balls – ideally, one per child
- Plastic containers to hold golf balls (we use take round take-out containers)
- 8×10 sheets of white paper (2 -3 per child)
- small sponges (one per child)
- bucket of soapy water
- spray bottle with water
You will need an assistant for this project. You will also need an open space, large enough for the children to be circled around the pool.
- Write each child’s name on the back of the a few blank pieces of paper before starting class so that they will each have some paintings to take home.
- Make sure pool is clean.
- Get a bucket with soapy water prepared for cleaning the pool afterwards.
- While sitting at a classroom table, tell the students about the project – they are going to be making art today with something they usually do something very different with! Show them some samples of previous paintings, and talk a little bit about primary colors. Explain how new colors can be made my mixing primary colors together and see if they can guess what new color will be created by the colors they are using. We chose blue and red on the day we did this project.
- Have the kids walk over to an open area and hold hands to make a circle, then step back to make the circle even larger. Have the children sit down.
- Put pool in center of circle.
- Place sheets of paper down to cover bottom of pool.
- Have teacher or assistant squirt paint around the edges of pool.
- Ask each child to select a ball from the plastic container and drop it into the pool.
- Now ask the kids to stand up and start trying to roll the ball through the paint and across the paper by tilting the pool.
- Have the kids work together to send the balls rolling to each child – say “Let’s send the ball to Micah”, and give each child a turn. Talk about gravity pulling the balls down. The texture of the golf balls creates bumpy tracks on the paper.
- If needed, add more paint.
- Once papers on bottom of pool are painted, remove them and add more.
- Continue a few times depending upon the age of the students and the number of papers you will need to each child can take one home.
- When finished, have the children again sit down and place the golf balls back in the plastic container.
- Next let them each pick out a sponge from another container and have them start cleaning, scrubbing the sides and bottom that have paint. Use a spray bottle to squirt waters on areas where the paint needs to be loosened up a bit more.
- When sponges get paint filled, rinse them out and squeeze them in a container of soapy water. Hand back to the children so they can continue cleaning.
- The golf ball pool paintings dry quickly and can often be taken home the same day. We like to bring the parents into the classroom so they can see the completed artwork and how it was created.