Outdoor Water Painting Experiments

Toddler Art Painting with Water

My friend Diana sent me these amazing photos of her son (almost 2 1/2 at the time), experimenting with water painting. She offered him a couple containers of water and a paintbrush and gave him free reign to paint away. I love how he was able to take these simple materials and experiment with them in multiple ways. He’s enjoying the process of painting while learning about the properties of his materials, making comparisons, and experiencing the effects of gravity.

outdoor water painting experiments

He squatted down low to get close to the action. The wood deck and porous tiles help capture the full effect of the water’s path.

outdoor water painting experiments

He stood up high to flick the brush Jackson Pollack style, and discovered how distance could change the process.

outdoor water painting experiments

He bent over to paint directly on the wood.

outdoor water painting experiments

And then he painted on the tiles. A different texture with another look.

outdoor water painting experiments

And finally, he painted on chalk drawings.

This is a beautiful reminder that creative thinking, exploration, and experimentation don’t have to come at an elaborate cost (of time or resources). If the weather is nice where you are, consider taking some water and brushes outdoors with an invitation to experiment. Other surfaces that absorb water nicely are bricks, terra cotta pots, and sidewalks.

What outdoor painting projects have you enjoyed?

Please feel free to share you photos in the comment section.

This post was shared with It’s Playtime, Childhood 101

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  1. Rachelle,
    These are very nice photos aren’t they?
    I especially love all the creative ways this little guy found to use the water, and his concentration looks profound, he’s clearly fascinated.

    (I also love these pictures because the day looks so warm and sunny, clearly summer type weather!)

    In a daycare I worked for 16 years, we were always very frugal, using materials pretty resourcefully – we had a wonderful assistant director who taught me so many creative things.
    One of the simplest ideas she gave me for outdoor fun was to take out ice cream pails of water and large paint brushes (house painting size), and allow the children to paint anything outside – the wooden play house, the stones, the deck, the grass, etc. The children truly could spend a whole afternoon going back and forth doing this.

    • I love these photos, too. Yes, this is one of the least expensive art projects, yet so rewarding and full of learning opportunities. Thanks for stopping by, Brenda 🙂

    • I’m glad you got some inspiration here, Laura. Thanks for the comment.

  2. sometimes I will add a bit of washable paint to tint the water. it comes off with a hose. or I leave it for the elements.
    I have been thinking for a while now. especially since Spencer is showing interest in painting, to have an object in the backyard that the kids can paint anytime. over and over. and over and over. hmmmmmm. could be good. could be a disaster. but really, besides mom going nuts a project really doesn’t ever go that wrong:)

  3. Wonderful – creative, imaginative, sensory play that has little ones exploring and experimenting, learning and having fun!

    Yesterday we drew with chalk in the puddles outside (it has been raining a lot here) and painted rocks and watched the paint run down them as it rained.

  4. Don’t all kids love water! I know my three certainly do. We often paint with water especially on the blackboard outside. For something different one day, we played with a home-made pendulum filled with water in the carport. Made for some very excited kids and some crazy patterns 🙂

    • pendulums are so fun! we recently made one filled with paint and i love the idea of using water, especially with the arrival warmer weather!

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