Art Activities With Water


There are many children's art activities that incorporate water. Though the projects themselves can be messy, water-based ingredients and supplies generally make for easy cleanup. Art projects using water can also be a way to get the kids outside while encouraging their creativity and building on the foundations of their artistic knowledge.

Colored Ice Painting

  • For an interesting take on water coloring, freeze intensely colored water in an ice cube tray overnight. Food coloring or non-toxic dye safe for kids will work. Feel free to mix new colors so that you have a varied palette to work from. Place toothpicks in each tray compartment before freezing. The next day, you'll have frozen paint blocks kids can use as brushes. The water will slowly melt as they paint with them. This is especially effective during warm weather.

Saltwater Paintings

  • Combine 1/4 cup of water with three drops of food coloring and 6 tbsp. of salt. Have kids use brushes to paint seascapes or underwater scenes onto paper with the mixture. Let the painting dry. The water will evaporate, leaving a colorful salt painting. Spray with artist's fixative spray to make sure the piece lasts and give it an attractive sheen.

Watercolor Variations

  • You can change up the classic children's watercolor painting in several ways. Paint colorful designs on a sheet of paper. Crumple up a piece of plastic wrap and press it against your sheet of paper, making sure not to rub the plastic around. Let the painting dry with the plastic pressed on for a few hours. When you return, gently lift the plastic. It should have created some interesting and colorful designs. Take the opportunity to ask the kids what kinds of images they see in the designs. It can serve as an introduction to the concept of abstract art.

Sheet Painting

  • For an outdoor group activity, fill several spray bottles halfway with water and halfway with tempera paint. Mix as many colors as you like, so long as there is a spray bottle for each color. Hang a sheet on a clothesline or over a fence and have the kids spray the sheet with color. They can do random designs, or you can have them stick to a theme. Let the sheet dry, and it makes a colorful wall hanging, or you can sew it into a curtain.

Outdoor Water Art

  • This activity is similar to the sheet painting. Instead of using water and tempera paints, you simply use water colors in the spray bottles. Rather than painting a sheet, use a fence or wall to have kids take turns spraying different colors. Discuss what happens when certain colors mix. If you bring along a color wheel, you can make it a lesson on complementary and contrasting colors and how they're used in art.

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  • Photo Credit watercolor palettes and brush image by egal from
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