Yesterday we made some cool paintings using a box, golf ball, paint, paper, and a few pieces of tape. Tape the paper in the bottom of a box (it's best if the paper covers most of the bottom of the box). Let your child choose the colors of paint and put the paint on the paper. Have them place the ball in the box. Show them how to roll the box around so that the ball rolls through the paint and makes tracks all over the paper. Stop when your child thinks their masterpiece is complete. You'll want to have some wet paper towels handy to pick up the ball and wipe it clean, and then wipe any paint that is on the box sides and bottom once you remove the painting.
It was so tempting to take this project over. Let them make choices about the color combinations, the number of colors, how much paint (watch out with this one, we have one that is still drying), where to put the ball, whether to roll the ball with one color before adding another color or add all the colors of paint and then roll, and when it's finished. Resist the temptation to jump in and take over, empower their inner artist. I practically had to sit on my hands.
I was surprised that this activity held Sawyer's attention as long as it did. Four paintings in a row! You just never know what will capture their interest. We did one painting with a whiffle ball a few months ago and he was D-O-N-E after one. Sawyer's favorite part yesterday was choosing the colors he was going to use, lining them up, and unscrewing the lids. Oh, and he loved putting the paints back in the box when we were done so much he dumped them out and put them away again. Also, just so you know, I ended up doing quite a bit of the actual rolling, but I always let him roll first, then when he wanted me to roll I asked him to give me directions like "Where do you want the ball to go next?" and "Tell me when to stop."
Variations: You can make areas of white space by having your child cut out or just tape down some shapes with scraps of paper before adding paint and rolling. When it's dry, remove the shapes.
You can also paint with other things that will roll around in the box. What can your child find that will work? Rocks or pine cones? Marbles, whiffle balls, tennis balls? An orange, lemon, or avacado? And who says you can only put one thing in at a time? Let me know what you try!
One of our paintings is on it's way to dad's art wall at work, and I think two are headed for grandparents' mailboxes, that leaves one to tape to the pantry door since I'm out of fridge door space and magnets!