Kids love mess, parents love cheap and easy. These three Abstract Art Activities are tried and true projects that keep kids busy for hours. For $20 or less your kids will beg you to do these again and again, and with Drank the Paint’s easy clean up method, you will let them!
This is one of thoses classic projects that has been around forever. I have done it in each of my classrooms from Pre-K – 12th Grade as an art teacher. This technique never gets old, and is GREAT for creating paper to draw on later, to cut up and use in multi-media projects, or as backgrounds for cards. Make a bunch, and save it for another project later in the Summer!
Prep: Gather your supplies and put down some kind of covering. I like to use disposable and cheap tableclothes, or an old sheet that I use again and again for art projects. You can do this one indoors or out!
- Shake your Shaving Cream, and get a nice little mountain in front of each kid. I let the kids do this themselves because they LOVE it. But, if you have tiny littles, you can help them out. Most kids want to touch the shaving cream. If you have time, and energy to wash hands twice, let them make some sculptures. When I’m working outside in the Summer, I just spray them off with the hose. Otherwise, move on to step two.
- Give your child a fork. Have them spread out their shaivng cream into about the size of the cardstock paper. It should be about an inch thick.
- Help the children add a few dollops of paint to their shaving cream. I like to tell them the 3x3x3 rule. Three Colors, and three little dots and three long seconds of swirling. 3x3x3 then let it be. Starting with 3 colors. More than three colors, and it will turn into a brown yucky mess. Have them pick their 3 colors.
- Have the kids squirt three little dots (quarter size or less) of each color on top of their shaving cream (9 dots total). This is not an exact science, but “just a dot does a lot” is my go to wording for paint and glue. Use it, love it, and say it often. Kids LOVE to squirt paint, and too much paint makes a mess.
- Now with a fork, have the kids swirl for three seconds (like the one-onehundred, two-onehundred, three-onehundred method of counting) and then STOP! Too much swiriling turns it into one blob of crazy.
- Have each child take a piece of cardstock and lay it on top of their shaving cream pile and press down.
- Now you have TWO options. The first is to lay the paper down somewhere and let it sit overnight. The shaving cream will dry up, and will become easy to brush off the paper. The second, and more immediate way to see what is underneath is to scrape the excess shaving cream off the paper right away. I like to have them line up with their papers and help them scrape the excess right into the garbage. Either way, the end result will be a fun marbled paper.
- REPEAT! This is too messy and fun not to keep going! You don’t need new shaving cream each time, just add a little fresh layer on top of what is left. Try different swirld designs, and even let them mix a buch of colors and make an ucky brown if they really want!
- CLEAN UP IS EASY… if you used a cheap plastic table cloth. Just fold it up with all the excess shaving cream inside and throw it away! Kids handwashing is simple, becuase the shaving cream works kind of like soap. (and trust me after doing this for a few days in a row in my classrooms, I had the softest hands around!)
Another Drank the Paint classic. It’s simple, easy, and I usually have most of the items on hand. Bonus, the kids are quiet while they are blowing (Mom WIN).
Prep: Lay down a Plastic Table Cloth. If you have REALLY little kids, I like to use a little vaseline on their hands before we start becuase food coloring is so hard to get off.
- Have older kids (help younger ones) add one drop of food coloring at a time to their paper.
- Have them BLOW. (it’s seriously that simple) then repeat with other colors, over and over!
- Clean up: Fold the table cloth in and throw away.
Some Tips and Tricks:
*If you are able to have them lay on their bellies and blow it seems to work better.
*Some kids get some spit in their straws, it’s gross. But, it does make the food coloring move a little faster… EWW!
*You can replicate this effect by dipping into a glass of water (just the tip of the straw)… then you won’t know what is spit and what is water… LESS GROSS?
*Try to give them challenges like who can make one drop go the furthest? The most directions? Have the most little lines out of it?
*Kids will blow until they get light headed and have a headache. Have them take a break every few minutes to avoid it.
- Lay down a Plastic Table Cloth.
- If you have REALLY little kids, I like to use a little vaseline on their hands before we start becuase food coloring is so hard to get off, and they REALLY like to touch the bubbles.
- I also go over the difference between blowing and sucking. The second you put a straw in a cup, the littlest kids like to suck, and while it won’t really hurt them, it tastes gross. I like to tell them to pretend it’s chocolate milk and BLOW.
- Fill a few cups about 1/4 of the way with water. (I like to use clear drinking cups), but ANY larger drinking cups will do. Then, put two LARGE squirts of liquid dishsoap in the cups with the water. About an inch of dishsoap does the trick.
- Have older kids (help younger ones) add 6-7 drops of food coloring to each cup with the water and dishsoap. I like to have a few cups of solid colors, but you can mix the food coloring to create new colors (like 4 drops red, 4 drops blue to make purple).
- Have the kids blow with a straw all the way at the bottom of the cup. I like to tell them to blow slow at first to avoid it splasing up. Once the bubbles start, it’s easier. Keep blowing until the bubbles come right above the top of the cup but not quite spill over.
- Use the straw to transfer the bubbles over to the Card Stock paper, or lie the paper on top of the cup and then remove. Repeat with each color until the paper is full.
- If you are feeling brave, put the cup in the center of the paper and blow until the bubbles overflow onto the paper. Keep blowing slowly- you want more bubble and less water!
- Clean up: Simply dump the water mix, fold up the table cloth and throw away!
Some Tips and Tricks:
*If you are doing this at home with young kids, you might not mind sharing straws. But, I like to have a whole box ready to go so no one shares spit, or mixes colors!
*If you are really concerned with food coloring on fingers (or it’s family picture day) then have the kids put on some gloves before your start.
*These prints are super cool by themselves. But, as a rainy day project, save them and use them to create Under Water Worlds on top of with marker. Simple Sharpie Fish add a whole new element of CUTE to these fun prints!
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures, enjoy the freedom of making some fun abstract art, and to share your thoughts and masterpieces with us on Instagram, Facebook or in the comments below!
Don’t forget to book Beth for your next Art Party & To include Drank the Paint in your Next Event!