Gallery Educator Monica shares a fun art activity that you can do at home. This one is inspired by the book Ish by Peter H. Reynolds.

It’s a process art activity, which essentially means you don’t follow step-by-step instructions. Instead, the focus is on exploring new art materials and techniques without worrying about the end result. Just tap into your imagination and enjoy the moment.

Getting started

Before starting the video, take a few minutes to gather your materials. You will need:

  • Thick paper, like card stock or finger paint paper
  • Various colors of paint and something to hold it, like a paper plate
  • Bits of string or yarn
  • Clothespins (to help with the yarn)
  • A smock (to avoid messes)
  • Optional: Craft sticks and a glue stick to frame your artwork
  • Your imagination


1. Start by looking around to get inspiration for your “ish” painting. What do you see that you’d like to paint?

2. Close your eyes and think about what shapes and colors you observed. Will you  use squiggly lines? Smooth shapes? Swirly colors? When you open your eyes it will be time to create!

3. Next, choose your paint colors and saturate your string or yarn.

4. Then, begin adding color with your string or yarn. Some considerations:

  • You can drag it or dab it on your paper. See how it produces a different result?
  • Maybe you make your string dance across the paper. How does that look?
  • What happens if you swirl it around?

At the museum, we used different types of string and yarn so kids can experiment with how it will look.

5, Finally, when your painting is “ish“ and you’re happy with it, you’re done. If you’d like, you can use craft sticks and glue to put a frame on your creation. Or, you can leave it how it is.

Note: Remember, you can pause the video if you need more time to create!

Did you know?

The main character in the book Ish discovers the fun in creating after realizing his art doesn’t need to look exactly like the thing he was trying to draw. Ish is awesome!

Find a readalong of Ish by cllcking the link.

Check out the book Ish via Overdrive digital library by clicking link.

Share your art!

Don’t forget to show us your art. Please send images via email or post on social media. We’re at @ideaMuseum on Facebook and @ideaMuseumMesa on Twitter and Instagram.