Did you hear the buzz? TinkerLab turns ONE tomorrow! To celebrate my one-year blogiversary (silly me –can you believe I thought I made this word up?!), I invited about twenty of my favorite bloggers to join me in a cardboard box challenge — right here — tomorrow! And wouldn’t you know that they said “yes!” I’m excited. Please accept this as my formal invitation to pop back over tomorrow to see what children do with this humble, open-ended material of corrugated goodness. Oh, and because we’ve been collecting so much cardboard, today’s post is a teaser of what’s to come.

And now, on to today’s experiment…

Maybe you’ve heard of Splat Painting? This project started out in that spirit and then, thanks to my almost 3-year-old’s creative thinking, turned into Splat Printing.

Cardboard Box Splat Printing

We gathered four balloons, fashioned a funnel out of cardstock, and filled the balloons with rice. N loved scooping and pouring the rice in. In hindsight, she would have been happy if we just did this all afternoon, but we didn’t stop there…

Cardboard Box Splat Printing

The balloons were plopped into matching piles of paint.

Cardboard Box Splat Printing

A couple of cardboard boxes were added to the lawn to be used as canvasses. I preferred boxes to paper because they’re sturdy and wouldn’t blow away in the wind. N smooshed the balloons around in the paint, and then…

Cardboard Box Splat Printing


Cardboard Box Splat Printing

Two colors at the same time. So efficient!

Cardboard Box Splat Printing

After a few splats, N ran back into the house to get something. A few minutes later she emerged with paper and scissors in order to “make prints.” Seriously!? All our printmaking activities are paying off, and I marveled at how she initiated her first solo printing project.

Cardboard Box Splat Printing

Revealing the prints is one of the best parts of the process.

Cardboard Box Splat Printing

A handful of prints, drying in the sun.

More Splat Painting Ideas

Splat Painting with Bean Bags from Let the Children Play

Catapult Snow Painting from Child Central Station

Splat Yo-Yo Painting from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Splat Art with Spatulas and Sponges from Putti Prapancha

Splat Painting with damp paper towels from Let’s Tap into our Creative Side


  1. Oh, what fun! All of it! Although when I picture transferring this from one almost-3yo to three kids including two boys ages 7 and 9… I’d have to wait and do this when it’s MUCH warmer, because the whole thing would surely have to end with the hose coming out. 🙂

    • Roopa – Your splat painting with spatulas and sponges is awesome, and I meant to include your post too! Thanks for the reminder. I added it to the post.

  2. What beautiful pictures, of a happy sunny day, and fun painting outdoors. What could be better!
    A good idea- to paint on boxes – I notice your daughter painted the inside. (I find when my kids paint containers such as pots or baskets – they will first paint the inside).

    So wonderful that she thought of making prints!

  3. This looks like so much fun :). Thanks for the linky love!!!! I can’t wait to see what everyone is up to tomorrow!!!

  4. Hi Rachelle! We loved this activity and featured it at our website >> http://blog.mpmschoolsupplies.com/2687/the-wonderful-messy-world-of-splat-painting/. We were certain to give photo source credit as well as a link back to your website, but we’d love for you to take a look at it and, if there are any problems, we’ll take the feature down immediately!

    P.S. I agree with Amy. The weather is warming up {just a little!} here in Northeast Ohio and I’ve been looking for activities to do with my nephews, ages 3 and 5…I envision they won’t be as neat as your daughter and will likely be headed straight to the bathtub! 🙂

    Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you!
    Kayla Johnson

  5. Love this idea! You always have the best activities to share! I have a little something for you over at my blog today. (:

  6. Happy blogiversary! I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy popping up for ideas. Soap making made it to my Summer Bucket list.

  7. I love this fun, messy, physical art experience. Looks so enjoyable.

  8. Great pictures! This is such a fun project too. We’ve tried it a few days ago (btw, I just saw your comment, thank you so much!). The results were beautiful and I fully intend on using M’s splat painting as gift wrapping paper. The outside wall of the house and part of the deck got decorated with some splat paint as well and look gorgeous now.

    • Wow — thank you, Jenny! I can’t wait to get our fly swatters out and give this a go too!

  9. Great activity with cardboard boxes and balloon and really these kinds of activity are very useful when you are with your family keep enjoying.

  10. Thank you for every other informative blog. Where else may just I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a challenge that I am just now operating on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.

  11. If you are in the food business and you are facing tough competition, you would know the importance of good Custom Cardboard Boxes. Packaging is something that most of your customers will recognize and remember you by. Customers, these days, look for boxes that are sustainable, reliable, and allow for attractive presentation of the food inside.

  12. Hello,

    I am very happy to see this activity. i will now decide to arrange this activity with my children at this weekend,

    Thanks for sharing us . Keep Continue this good work.


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