3 Fun Painting Activities for Kids

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Inside: Are your kids tired of painting with the same old paintbrushes? Maybe it’s time to mix it up! Here are three “no paintbrush” painting activities for kids that you can try today!

My kids love to paint. My kids love to paint so much that they are pros at cleaning our craft room floor with these wipes because it is always getting paint on it! But, in the Summer, I try to take the painting outside!

Today, I am sharing three “no paintbrush” painting activities for kids that my girls LOVED!

Rubber Band Painting

This painting activity is a little more like stamping, but I’m calling it painting. It uses paint, so my girls considering it painting!

rubber band painting with kids
My 7 year old’s rubber band masterpiece

What you will do: Make some DIY stamps with rubber bands and cardboard. Then your kiddos can create custom stamp painting masterpieces! I really enjoyed seeing how my different ages went about the activity differently.

What you will need:

washable paint


rubber bands (a variety of widths is best)

painting trays

paintbrushes (one for each color)

painting paper

How to do it:

Take your cardboard and cut it into squares, fairly big. Mine were about 6in x 6in. Then stretch the rubber bands around the cardboard pieces to make different designs. (see below) You can make notches in the sides of the squares if you want the rubber bands to start or end on the sides like some of mine did.

rubber band painting stamps
You can make designs with the rubber bands or just make it random. We did a bit of both.

Next, fill the paint trays with the colors of paint you will be using. Then, use a paintbrush(I know, I know, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the paint on the rubber bands without one!) to brush a color onto a stamp. You want to be a bit liberal with the paint, so the design really shows up. I had to stress that we were just trying to cover the rubber bands and not the entire piece of cardboard. 🙂

putting paint on a stamp with kids
Using a paintbrush, brush the paint onto a stamp.

After you have your stamp sufficiently painted, it’s time to stamp! Your child can stamp it on their paper however they choose.

toddler painting activities
Let your child stamp on the paint however their little heart desires.

Then, simply repeat with additional stamps and paint until your child is finished! Here are how ours turned out….

rubber band painting activity for kids
This is my two year old’s masterpiece. She chose to put all the stamps right on top of each other!
rubber band painting with kids
This is my seven year old’s work of art. A little more thought and placement involved.

Lay it on the table to dry and then hang it up for everyone to see!

Related Post: The Best Family Games for 5 – 8-Year Olds

Painting with Marbles

My girls loved all three of these projects because it was a bit different than the usual painting activities we do, but I think this one was their favorite. They loved watching the marbles zoom through the paint and seeing what they each made.

marble painting activity for kids

What you will do:

For this painting activity, your kids will roll marbles around in a pan to create an abstract masterpiece!

What you will need:

aluminum pan(s) – I used one and had the girls take turns

paint trays

marbles (one for each color)


paper (we used computer paper because it fit perfectly into the pans)


How To Do It:

Squirt some paint in the paint tray(s). I just kept it simple and let the girls choose six colors, so we only used one paint tray. Then, put a marble in each color.

painting with marbles for kids
Put the paint in each spot on the paint tray and place a marble in each color.

Place a piece of paper into the aluminum pan. Then, using a spoon, scoop up a marble and place it in the tray. I did the first one, then my seven and five year olds did the rest of theirs. I let my two year old go last, so she could do it and not worry about getting the paints mixed up.

marble painting with kids
Use a spoon to scoop up some extra paint with the marble.

Now, let your kids have fun rolling the marble around the pan. We had fun trying to see if the girls could get it to go back through the “glob” where we first dropped it in.

When the paint runs out, take the marble out and repeat with a new color. I did find that I had to refill the paint for each kid because you want to be able to scoop some extra paint up with the marble.

Interestingly, my youngest was the only one who thought to try more than one marble at a time. It made for and interesting design!

painting with multiple marbles
My two year old put all the marbles in together. It was busy! Let your kids experiment and have fun with this activity.

When you are all done, just take the paper out and set it on a table to dry.

For this activity, I used one tray and had the girls take turns. This reduced the clean up and they enjoyed watching each other swirl the marbles around.

Related Post: 15+ Gift Ideas that Aren’t Toys

Resistance painting with Sponges

We had done resistance painting before, but we had always used brushes. This time around we mixed it up and painted with sponges! The girls loved the different experience and the textures they could make with the sponges as opposed to just brushing with a paintbrush.

resistance painting with kids

What You Will Do:

Create a resistance design by covering part of the paper with tape. When you are done, the design will POP amidst all the colorful paint!

What You Will Need:

painter’s tape – skinnier is better

painting paper




paper plates

How To Do It:

First thing to do is cut the sponges. I just cut them into random shapes, but you could also try and cut them into specific shapes if you wanted.

Cut a sponge to use for painting
I just cut random shapes for my sponges. You could try and do more specific shapes if you wanted to.

Next, you have to create the tape design that your kids will paint over. If you have older kids doing this activity, too, they could create their own designs. My kids chose a heart (two year old), patterns (five year old), and the number 7 (she had just turned seven the day before and was slightly obsessed with the number).

create designs for tape resistance art
My kids each got to choose the design for their resistance art. I cut the tape into small pieces to make it easier to work with.

As you can see in the picture below, I cut the tape into small pieces to create the designs. This makes it easier to do curves (heart) or turns (zig zags). But, it’s still tape, so you probably aren’t going to create anything too detailed here.

Use small pieces of tape to create resist art
I cut short strips of tape when I needed to create designs that had curves or angles in them.

Once you are finished creating the designs, it’s time to paint!

Put some paint on the paper plates. I did one color per plate just to keep the colors for getting mixed up. Then, let the kids dip the sponges in the paint and paint their pictures however they want.

I had to remind my kids that it was a good idea to cover the entire paper, so the only white would be their design when we took the tape off. This really helps the design to POP!

Another tip, try to have the kids spread the paint around a good bit. If the paper is too wet, it is more likely that it will rip when you take the tape off.

number seven resistance art painting
This is what my seven year old’s picture looked like!

When your child is finished painting, it’s time to take the tape off. I found that it was best to take the tape off right away, so that the paint didn’t dry. If the paint dries on top of the tape, it is more likely to either 1) rip when you take it off or 2) take some extra paint off with it and mess up your design.

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to taking the tape off. The paper will be pretty wet, so easy does it. I also found that if you used lots of small strips (like I did), then starting with the “bottom” piece makes it much easier. The tape will just keep lifting the next piece off that way. Whereas, if you start with the “top” piece you have to rip each piece off individually and (I think) this increases the chance for ripping.

Once you have all the tape off, admire your child’s masterpiece and set it on a table to dry.

I hope you and your kids enjoy these painting activities as much as we did! Do you have more ideas for painting without a paintbrush? I would love to hear them – leave some ideas in the comments!

This post is part of a blog series DIY Summer Camp Activities! I’ve teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring you tons of great ideas to try at home with your kids this Summer. You can see all the activities HERE.

Look just for more art posts? You can jump to the art page HERE.

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2 Responses

  1. Kristen says:

    The rubberband painting idea looks like a lot of fun. I don’t remember seeing that one before.

    • Surya says:

      I know, I don’t see that one much, either! That’s why I thought I’d include it. And it was so fun – my girls really enjoyed it. I wish I would’ve saved the cardboard squares to reuse because they immediately asked when are we going to do it again. But, I’ll just have to make new designs next time. I hope your kids enjoy it if you try it!

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