Scanner Art Experiments

Scanner art experiment with kids

If you have a scanner and a little bit of time, this low-mess project kept my preschooler busy for a whole morning. Lots of fun for curious kids!

scanner art experiments

Not too long ago we had a big print job in our home, which peaked my daughter’s interest in the printer. The noises, lights, and moving paper were all new and exciting, I’m sure. Every time I printed something, she volunteered to rescue it from the machine. So we set up a scanning project, just for her. For the first run, we helped her select some objects to scan. Once she got a hang of it, she was off on her own!

Setting up materials on the printer bed.

scanner art experiments

Soooooo exciting!!

scanner art experiments

She experimented with different materials: puzzle pieces, acorns, baker’s twine, and her own hands. And she experimented with different colors of paper.

scanner art experiments

While this quickly became HER project, I was lucky enough to be invited to join her.

If you don’t have a printer/scanner, you could easily do this in your local printshop (which we’ve done too!). N thought this was cool field trip. I think she liked the big machines, the whirling sound of copies as the come out of the printer, and the novelty of it.

Learning Outcomes

  • Cause and Effect: How placement of objects on scanner affects the image output
  • Exploring the functions of machines and how they can help us
  • Composition and Selection: Making choices about what objects to place, and in which location

You might also enjoy

Follow my Tinkering board on Pinterest

Your turn!

Have you tried scanning with your kids? If this inspires you to do some scanning, please come back with your stories with me.

This post was shared at We Play @ Childhood 101. Go ahead, give it a click for more play ideas.


  1. Such a cool idea! My sons are obsessed with the printer and love to collect printing for me and always asking me to print pictures for them. We can use the printer as a scanner too, so I will be giving this a try.

    • yay! i’m happy to spread the printer love 🙂

  2. This is a great idea!

    I remember once when I was teaching, a student needed me to photocopy something for a project. He said, “Please can you explode this for me?” I laughed. He wanted the picture blown up (enlarged)!!

    • I love how children interpret the world! 🙂

    • Yes, I ran out too (surprise, surprise!), and it’s been on my shopping list for a while now!

    • We Play is so great, and I would encourage anyone looking for good play ideas to visit your page!

  3. love! we have been having fun at the local print shop (it is cheaper than printer ink for me). we have been focused on body parts – but we will try object next.

    • We’ve done this at the copy shop too — I’ll have to look into which strategy is more economical for us. Printer ink is not cheap!

Comments are closed.