Let’s get creative!

Check out these three activities – from our Messy Creations series – designed for your little ones to paint at home without needing a paintbrush or even paint!

Since these art exploration activities will be done at your home, grab some newspaper or a table cloth for spills or splatters. Also, we suggest a smock or old oversized T-shirt to keep your clothes from getting messy.

Paint style No. 1: Smush Paint


  • Paint (or shaving cream with food coloring)
  • Heavy paper or canvas board
  • Tape
  • Sealable plastic bag

Find instructions for creating smush art here

Paint style No. 2: Marbling


  • A sheet pan or tray
  • Shaving cream
  • Food coloring
  • A utensil to mix the colors
  • Paper
  • Damp paper towel

Create your marble art

*Tip – These make great greeting cards! Watch a video of one of Gallery Educator Rebecca creating marble paper!

Paint style No. 3: Spray Paint Reveal


  • Spray bottle
  • Food coloring
  • Water
  • Paper
  • Sheet pan
  • White crayon

Create your watercolor spray paint

Similarly, you can make this activity a secret drawing reveal (click link to check out an earlier video showing you how to do this).

Learn more

Do you know about Messy Creations? It’s one of the creative workshops the staff at the i.d.e.a. Museum develops regularly – using a variety of safe materials – for you little ones ages 6 months to 5 years.

These workshops are an invitation to get messy and make art! A great benefit of these:Your child(ren) explore through sensory activities and build fine motor skills.

Vocabulary Builders

Note to caregivers: When doing these painting activities, it’s good to narrate what we do and help provide the child with words to express what they are experiencing to help with language development. You can also ask:

  • What does it feel like?
  • What does it sound like?
  • What does it feel like?