Jenny is a preschool teacher, so many of her activities are geared toward large groups of kids and I was pressed to figure out a way to pull this off with just me and my 2-year old. Another issue was that I didn’t have any marbles in the house, and I couldn’t swallow forking out $11 for the marbles I found at the toystore this morning. In a fit of resourcefulness that I attribute to my girl scout past, I remembered the big bowl of smooth river rocks I have tucked away for forcing hyacinth bulbs to grow. Score! Something to consider: because painted rocks/marbles are bound to fly around, this is an excellent activity to try outdoors.
What’s the Hook?
- Children get to experiment with non-art materials (in this case, marbles or rocks instead of paintbrushes), a reminder that all things are not necessarily what they seem, and that objects can be repurposed with new possibilities.
- Older children will problem-solve as they try to figure out how to achieve color and line combinations within this almost unpredictable, moving framework.
- Children will be active! This is not quite Jackson Pollack Action Painting, but without some physical activity the artwork would just never happen.
20+ minutes, 5 minutes for set-up and 5-10 minutes for clean-up
- A stack of paper
- Thick paint such as tempera or acrylic
- Small, rolling objects such as marbles or smooth rocks
- Bowl/bowls for the paint. I lined my bowl with tin foil so that I could simply throw the paint away when we were done — easy clean-up! I was happy to use one bowl for all the colors, but you may want yours in separate containers.
- A tray of some sort. I found ours at a thrift store for $3. You can find these new at stores like Target. A clear plastic tub or cardboard box would also do the trick.
- Masking tape
- Paint Brush (optional). Great to have on hand in case your child wants to ditch the rocks for ol’ fashioned brush painting.
- Tape a sheet of paper inside the tray.
- Squeezed four paint color into a bowl
- Dip a rock into the paint and then place it on the paper. Repeat this step for as many rocks as you’d like. We used about 8.
- Rock the tray back and forth to create marks all over the paper.
- We taped the complete paintings to a fence
- Clean-up: I dropped the rocks in a sand pail full of water, swished it around, and poured the water on in the garden, and we washed our hands in the hose before heading inside. Pretty easy. The apron helped, too!