Mason Jar Shadow Drawing Prompt

Mason Jar Solar Light Shadow Drawing Prompt

After we made a Mason Jar Solar Light, we noticed that our non-frosted mason jar lantern created a loopy, squiggly, and sharp pattern of shadows when illuminated on the table.

To turn this into an art activity, we added a few supplies (a piece of paper and pencil) and played around with this fun and creative shadow drawing prompt.

Care to join us?

Drawing Prompt: Capturing Shadows

Try this fun and quick drawing prompt for boosting creativity with a mason jar, solar light or tea light, and a pencil. Supplies for Shadow Drawing Prompt

If you don’t already have a solar light mason jar, you’ll need these supplies:

Note: This post includes affiliate links

  • Wide Mouth Mason Jars. These Mason Jars by Ball are awesome.
  • Solar Path lights. I found ours at Osh for $3.99 each. I searched at our local hardware store first, but the lights I found there didn’t fit into the Mason Jars.
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Darkened Room

Click over here for the Mason Jar Solar Light tutorial.

If the room isn’t dark enough for the solar panel to activate the light, place a square of dark paper over the panel. Voila!

What we did

We placed the clear mason jar over a sheet of paper and looked for the darkest, crispest lines to trace. Simple as that! The finished pieces looked like something from space, and now we’re talking about the possibility of adding some color.

Mason Jar Drawing Prompt for Kids  |

More Drawing Prompts

White Drawings on Black Paper

One-minute Drawings

Sketchbook Prompt: Circles and Watercolor Paint

Join the March Sketchbook Challenge for daily prompts

Drawing Ideas: One Minute Drawings

I’m always looking for drawing ideas and have a fun creativity prompt to share with you today. My family tested this out on Day 8 of the first TinkerSketch sketchbook challenge, but I didn’t take time to share the results of the process.

This drawing prompt invites you to draw as much as you can in one minute!

Drawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

My 4-year old and I spend a lot of time at our art studio while her older sister is in school, and today she suggested that we make some one-minute drawings. It’s been a few months since we’ve tried this fun creativity prompt, and I was game. I also enjoy the challenge of making art with my kids, and when they have an idea I try to run with it.

Of course she wanted to use Sharpies (affiliate), so we covered the table with fresh paper. We use Pacon Kraft paper (affiliate), in case you’re looking for something similar…it’s great stuff!

I cut up 9″ x 12″ sheets of drawing paper into four pieces, gave us each a stack, and we were ready to go.

Drawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

I set the timer for one minute and then we faced the challenge to draw as much as we could (or wanted to) in that time span. A minute goes by surprisingly fast!

So fast, in fact, that after that first lightening round, my daughter asked for more time. While she was on more of the 6-minute track, I continued to crank out 1-minute drawings. One of the best things about this exercise is how you don’t have time to judge your drawings — the point is not to be brilliant but to get some marks on the paper.

Benefits of 1-Minute Drawings

  • It’s fun!
  • You work too fast to be judgmental of your work
  • One idea leads to another. When the first drawing ends, it prompts new ideas for your next 1-minute drawing.
  • If you keep going on to make 40, 50, 60, or more drawings, you may start to run out of ideas which pushes you into new territory

I thought you might like to see the progression of a series of nine of these quick drawings, and how one idea lead to another: connected triangles led to connected circles, which led to connected quadrilaterals, ovals, more triangles, and finally dots.

Drawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

While my little one didn’t stick with the one-minute drawing plan, she enjoyed creating the beginning of a book about panda bears, and working side-by-side is always something I look forward to.

One minute drawings collageDrawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

More Drawing Ideas + Creativity Prompts

If you’re looking for more prompts like this for kids, you’ll enjoy this list of Simple Creative Invitations.

And if you’d like to join the fun, experimental TinkerSketch sketchbook challenge that I host on Instagram and Facebook, you can find more info here.

You might also enjoy slide drawing, drawing with art dice, and the word drawing game.

Art Prompts | White Drawings on Black Paper

I’m not a fussy person and often like to keep things as simple as possible. What about you?

I’m happiest with an amazing recipe that comes together in under 30 minutes and I can’t really be bothered with a high maintenance haircut. So if you’re in my camp, you’ll especially appreciate today’s art prompt to use white paint markers on black paper.

Art Prompts: White Marker on Black Paper Creativity Booster for Kids |


  • Black Paper. We used a large roll of kraft paper (see below), but you could also use smaller sheets of black paper, found in any art supply store.
  • White Paint Markers.

Supply Recommendations

This list contains affiliate links.

Pacon Kraft Paper.  This paper is amazing. It comes in an ultra-wide roll that will cover most tables. It’s not super heavy like a lot of brown Kraft paper, but thinner and semi-smooth. The roll is large and I know that we’ll get a lot of use out of it.

Permaopaque Fine Line Markers. These are the colorful markers that you’ll see in this post. They work right out of the box and the colors are vibrant.

Sharpie Paint Pen. This was my 4-year old’s favorite pen for the broad, sweeping lines you see in the pictures.

Mala White Pen from IKEA. I’m always curious about IKEA art supplies and had to try out this set that comes with a white pen. It was less opaque and vibrant than the other choices, but fun because the white color shows up seconds after drawing with it.

White Opaque Pens from Ranger. These work like a ballpoint pen and the ink doesn’t flow from them as evenly as it does from the other pens, above. Take a look at the little owls that my 4-year old made here, to see how they look.

White marker on black paper creativity prompt |

The Set-up

  1. Roll your paper out on the table. If you’re not using a large roll of black paper, place the paper in front of the child.
  2. Place white markers nearby and invite him or her to draw and make marks.

Easy, right?

Note: I can’t guarantee that this will work for you, but the suggestion to draw with white on black is enticing, and gets kids excited simply because it reverses the tradition of black on white.

Art Prompts: White Marker on Black Paper Creativity Prompt |

I also placed some colorful paint markers on the table, but she was 100% invested in the white-on-black drawing.

Art Prompts: White Marker on Black Paper Creativity Booster for Kids |

And finally, a little owl family emerged after she turned one of the flowers that I drew into an owl beak.

White marker on black paper creativity prompt |

While she didn’t use any of the colorful markers, I was sooooo curious to see how they worked and tested them out. They’re far more brilliant against the black paper than I expected, and I would wholly recommend them if you’re looking for a marker that will show up on dark paper.

Art Prompts | Paint markers on black paper creativity prompt |

More White and Black Art

White paint on black paper, The Artful Parent

Christmas “Chalkboard” Packaging This post is where I got the Kraft paper recommendation!, Going Home to Roost

Process Art: Experimenting with Black and White with Toddlers, Meri Cherry

Painting with Pom Poms + Black and White Paint, Fantastic Fun and Learning

Black Paper and Masking Tape, Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Printed Leaves on Black Paper, A Faithful Attempt

Opaque White Glue on Black Paper, with Chalk Pastel, Art in the Middle School

Join the TinkerLab Community

If you were inspired by this post, you might like to sign up for the weekly TinkerLab newsletter. It’s free and we often send exclusive content and opportunities that are only available to our subscribers.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

Circular Patterns + Creative Thinking

Despite the thousands of ideas you’ve seen floating around the internet, do you ever feel like you’re at a loss for an art activity that your kids will enjoy, while also challenging them to think?


Children get excited about solving real problems, and the problem in this project lies in figuring out how to circumnavigate a paper plate with color and patterns. While tackling the challenge of working in the round and developing a series of patterns, you can also feel good knowing that this helps with spatial reasoning and math skills too!

Further, this project is great for building creative thinking skills and the imagination.

Oh, and did I mention that the set-up and materials are ridiculously simple. You don’t need a lot of art know-how to make this work for you.


  • Paper Plates
  • Markers or Paint

paper plate mandala

We cleared off the coffee table and I gave each of my children (Nutmeg is 4 and Rainbow is 21 months) a paper plate and a caddy of markers. Simple, right?

I started by talking about how we were going to draw around the plate in circles, and then began by drawing on my own plate (in the foreground). I started with a small green flower, and then surrounded it with a circle, another circle of dots, a circle, and so on.

Nutmeg quickly caught on and plotted her own take on a circular pattern. Baby R didn’t draw in circles, but happily did her own thing with plates and markers.

paper plate mandala

Most likely because I initiated my own plate with a flower at its center, many of N’s designs looped around a flower too. The power of suggestion is strong, and I think children can learn a lot from their parents and teachers, but it’s smart to be mindful of this phenomena.

paper plate mandala

Later in the day while Baby Rainbow napped, Nutmeg wanted to try this project with paint. So I set her up with yogurt containers filled with a little bit of Liquid Watercolor Paint (such a great product, from Discount School Supply).

All in all, we created about 12 plates this day. Because they were all colored on the back side, I saved them and we’ll use them on a picnic one day soon.

paper plate mandala

What do you think? Do you have a stack of paper plates that could use a little bit of color? Or maybe you could try this on your next picnic?

More Circular Challenges

Tracing Circles, Tinkerlab

Painting Around the Hole, The Artful Parent

Leaf Mandalas for the Wall, The Artful Parent

Spirograph Mandalas, Paint Cut Paste

Easy Art for Kids – Circle Printing, Picklebums


Easy Peasy Rock Painting

rock painting

This is such an easy project and my kids (almost 4 and 20 months) have gone crazy for it. And I have to confess that I really enjoyed it too. Very addictive. I chalk their enthusiasm (and mine) up to a couple things:

  1. Painting or drawing on a 3-dimensional surface is a fun challenge
  2. The colors of the paint markers are vivid and opaque (i.e. pretty), and very easy to use.

rock painting

There are lots of ways to paint a rock, for example, we recently painted a big rock with watercolor paints. But the method I’m sharing today is so easy and the mess is minimal.


  1. Selection of smooth river or beach rocks
  2. Paint markers. We used Elmer’s Painters Pens
  3. Covered table (the markers leave a mess on the work area that you’ll be happy that you prepared for it).

rocks rock painting

If your markers are new, you’ll want to shake them a bit and depress the tips until the paint starts to flow. Just follow the directions of your paint. 3-year old N wanted to make each of her rocks unique.

rocks rock painting

And her sister, Baby R, enjoyed the challenges of learning to hold the marker and controlling the lines as they hit the rock.

rocks rock painting

N was so proud of her creations, and actually hid her favorites (not seen here) in a closet for Father’s Day. Phew, guess I’m off the gift-giving hook.

The rocks really are spectacular and seeing them makes me so happy.

A small clean-up caveat: the ink will get all over your kids’ hands, but don’t fret. The mess would have been much worse if you’d given them a bowl of acrylic paint and brushes. And it will all come within a day or two.

More Rock Painting

rocks magnets

Jen at Paint Cut Paste shows you how to make thumbprint rock magnets. Tweet Tweet.

rocks rock painting

This is one of my first posts: Rolling Rock Painting. It’s like rolling ball painting, but a little bit more unpredictable.

rocks rock painting

I love homemade games, and this rock domino set from Martha Stewart would make me so happy.

Have you or your kids painted rocks? If you’re a blogger, feel free to share a link in your comment.

DPS Sketchbook Challenge, Made Easy

Double page spread sketchbook challenge

Are you participating in the DPS challenge? You can join at any time and your sketches can be as basic or complex as you like. My friend, Aude, told me that some of the entries I shared last week intimidated her. These weren’t her words exactly, but that was the gist of it, and I thought I needed to reset this challenge since that wasn’t my intent at all. I love how the honesty of good friends can help me grow and and hope you’ll also tell me if I get off track.

If you felt the same way or felt discouraged by this challenge, I hope you’ll consider giving it a try. The idea is to show up — FOR YOURSELF — and make something almost every day.

So I’m sharing some of my quickest, simplest DPS entries as examples of how easy this can be. The threshold for joining isn’t that high and the time commitment isn’t too grand.

In the picture above, my kids and I painted on a piece of paper that I later glued to my sketchbook. When it dried I added some glitter glue and white reinforcement stickers. It’s simple and didn’t require a lot of special talent, but it works.

sketchbook challenge

This challenge isn’t for everyone, I understand that, but if you’re the least bit interested in charging your creative batteries, I hope you’ll consider giving it a go. The process has done tremendous things for my own creativity and my kids’ as well. As I sketched over breakfast the other day my daughter said excitedly, “can you get me my sketchbook? You gave me an idea!”

sketchbook challenge

The other wonderful part of this project is the growing community of enthusiastic and supportive #tinkersketchers. If you’re on Facebook, you can see some of the images that readers have added on my wall. And if you’re on Instagram, you can search for #tinkersketch where you’ll see the full gallery of participants’ posts. We comment on each other’s images and provide each other with the motivation to keep going.

I have to share this comment from Angalata in Spain because it summarizes the spirit of this project so well:

“I feel so lucky… I found people who look what I do and who wants to share with me what they create (and nobody judges nobody creations), I can express myself, I delight with beautiful sketches, collages, compositions, paintings… I think about what (or most important… HOW) can i create something… some days it takes me 5 minutes and other days I spend about an hour… I create with my kids, alone, or with my dear husband playing his guitar… and because create something is the ONLY WAY to create. Maybe some of our #tinkersketch creations ar imperfect, as you say, but I love them because they are a present for myself. I am a proud confetti owner (and, al last, I recive free english lessons, too ;-D) So… thank you, Rachelle and my lovely #tinkersketchers.”

This week’s DPS prompts:

I’ll post prompts on my site at the beginning of each week. Some of you requested them, others did not. Feel free to use them if they work for you, or ignore them completely.

  • Copy a pattern from a towel, dish, napkin, etc.
  • Doodle with your eyes closed
  • Write words that your children say and circle your favorite ones
  • Make another picture with those favorite words
  • Rubber stamp it
  • Paint with red wine vinegar
  • Listen to a song and draw doodles along with the movement of the music

Do you have ideas for prompts?

The more ideas, the better! I’d love to share them, so go ahead and add them in a comment


  • Facebook: Upload a photo of your DPS directly to the Tinkerlab Facebook page
  • Instagram: Upload a photo of your DPS with the hashtag #tinkersketch. My username is tinkerlab, in case you’d like to follow me
  • Google+: Upload your DPS photo to your own page. Tag me @rachelle doorley  and/or @tinkerlab. Add the hashtag #tinkersketch
  • Twitter: Add the hashtag #tinkersketch

Word Drawing Game

Do your kids like to draw? Do you ever play drawing games?

The other day my kids and I were cleaning out the garage. Well, really it was me while they loitered, moved things around, and made a lot of noise.

My 3-year old found an old, but never-before-opened game of a Cranium. She adores opening new packages and ran into the house for a pair of scissors.

Once the box was open and she was done exploring its contents, she asked if we could play. I love how open-minded and full of enthusiasm children can be.

If you look at the packaging I think it recommends this game for age 18 and older, so it wasn’t exactly age-appropriate, but we played a version that she enjoyed and I think it could work in some capacity for kids of all ages.

drawing games preschool

I searched through the deck of cards for something that she had some chance of drawing (and understanding). Which meant “no” on Devil’s Food Cake, Card Shark, and Wicked Witch of the East, and “yes” on Mermaids, Bubble Bath, and Potty (short for Potty Training).

My daughter can’t read yet, so this is how we played…

I pulled out a card and read it to her while she looked on (and maybe picked up on how letters form words). Then she drew it, to the best of her ability.

This part was the most fun for me, and in some cases frustrating for her. In the picture above, she was challenged to draw a mermaid and asked me if she could look at a picture of one. I pulled up a drawing of Disney’s Little Mermaid, she gave it her best effort, exclaimed that it looked nothing like a mermaid, and this exercise ended with, “it’s your turn.”

Then I drew one (a potty) while she guessed what I was drawing. Despite years of drawing classes, my drawing barely looked like a potty and it took her forever to make a correct guess. I think it helped her to see me struggle, showing that we can’t always create the things that our brains envision. At least I hope that’s what happened.

Back to her…she got to draw bubble bath…

drawing game preschool

Again, I was so curious to see how she would tackle this challenge. She chose a blue crayon….

drawing game preschool

Drew some water along the left side of the paper and bubbles on the right side. Ah, a bubble bath! We played a total of about 5 drawings before she was done.

If I were to do this again, I’d make my own cards with words of things that are in her drawing vocabulary: flowers, people, rockets, and rainbows. And I’d include a few things just outside of her drawing ability: house, bike, tree, bunny.

But venus flytraps and Hawaiian shirts may have to wait another 15 years.

More drawing games

Art Dice: A fun tool for creating randomly-created art. Also good for teaching shapes, colors, lines, etc.

Slide Drawing: A roll of paper and some crayons turn a slide into more than a downhill ride

Drawing Shadows: Play with sidewalk chalk on a sunny morning or afternoon

Organic Shape Monsters: You just need some string, a drawing tool, and a big imagination.

Hole inspiration: Draw around holes cut into a sheet of paper (The Artful Parent)

Challenge Drawings: Cut out shapes of paper and see what you can turn them into (The Artful Parent)

Pick and Draw Art Game: A deck of drawing cards reviewed by The Chocolate Muffin Tree

A simple way to learn how to Draw Circles from Lessons Learnt Journal

Stuck in a waiting room? Save this fun waiting room drawing idea (Mama Smiles)

Do you have a favorite drawing game or post about a drawing game?

Organic Shape Monsters for Halloween

When I saw this idea over at We Heart Art, I loved it for its open-ended qualities and simplicity. Joanna did this project with Kindergarteners, but it was adaptable to my 3-year old and could easily scale up for older children. Plus, the monster theme played out so nicely with Halloween right around the corner. Grrrrr….

And, are you ready to hear how easy this is? All you need are about 20″ of yarn, paper, and some markers or crayons. 

We talked about witches, ghosts, and jack-o’-lanterns all morning, so when I asked if N wanted to make a monster she was game. In general, she hasn’t drawn too many realistic drawings, so I was curious to see where this experiment would go. We each started out with a piece of yarn. I moved the yarn around my page to make an organic shape, connected the two ends to close it, and then traced an outline around the shape. N took note and did the same. So far, the process intrigued her.

We removed the yarn and I invited her to turn it into a monster. And this is what’s so cool about this project: There’s no expectation and the outcome is totally up to the child’s imagination. The red apostrophe shape she’s working on is a little baby monster. Awwww. At first glance I thought it was the mouth, which is a good reminder on why it’s best to never make assumptions and ask the child about their work without making interpretations!

Okay, now you can see the mouth. Ferocious!

She also added some arms, eye lashes, a forehead, a belly button, and fur. It’s kind of Jabba the Hutt, no? And despite it’s obvious scariness, I love it!

Have you ever heard that people learn as they teach? (In case you’re wondering, it can be credited to the Roman philosopher, Seneca — I had to look it up, and subsequently learned about it so I could share it with you!). Well, N’s friend came over the next day, and at one point in the afternoon the two of them sat down at the art table and she independently showed him how to make a monster! You can imagine my surprise and delight — I guess she really embraced the concept and thought it was worth sharing.

More Halloween Ideas

If you enjoyed this post, you have to check out 50 Simple Halloween Ideas for Kids.