Rolling Rock Painting Process Art

Kids Art Projects | Rolling Rock Painting | TinkerLab.com

Process Art with Rolling Rocks

If you have marbles or smooth pebbles, you have to try this Rolling Rock Process Art Painting Activity.

This is seriously fun for all ages, and you can do this with kids as young as two. I’ll show you the 2-year old version, but consider adapting this for a fun scouts activity, church group, or your own art journaling.

I first saw this on a blog called Let the Children Play. The version shared there was super-sized and 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.

Initially I thought we’d do this with marbles, but alas, we had none in the house. In a fit of resourcefulness, we had a big bowl of smooth river rocks tucked away for forcing hyacinth bulbs to grow.  Score!

Something to consider:  you can do this with marbles, small balls or pebbles. Small painted rocks, balls or marbles are bound to fly around, so this is an excellent activity to try outdoors.

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

Why This Art Project works

  • 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

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

Rolling Rock Art Activity Supplies

  • Paper
  • Poster Paint. This Crayola washable tempera paint is my favorite
  • Small, rolling objects, i.e. marbles or smooth rocks
  • Bowl/s for the paint. Note: 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 or cardboard box. Handles make this easier for little hands
  • Masking tape
  • Paint Brush (optional).  Great to have on hand in case your child wants to ditch the rocks for ol’ fashioned brush painting.

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

The Set-up

  • 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.

Fun Kids Art Activity with Rolling Rocks | TinkerLab.com

  • 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!

Kids Art Projects | Rolling Rock Painting | TinkerLab.com

More Toddler Art Projects

For more Toddler Art Activities, you will probably enjoy 12 Art Projects for Toddlers



  1. Try this same activity LARGE…use a cantaloupe and a grapefruit in a children’s plastic wading pool. I put globs of paint on the paper in the pool to cover the bottom of the pool. Then have kids holds the sides and roll the round fruits through the paint making tracks on the paper. Of course you could use balls or any round objects, but the fruit is very silly and fun. After, wash it off and have a snack. Kids love to do this! This activity comes from
    by MaryAnn F. Kohl
    published by Gryphon House.

    • MaryAnn…I love this idea, and look forward to trying it out. Gotta get my hands on “Big Messy Art!”

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