Abstract Outdoor Painting Activities for Kids

The art projects here use unusual tools to create abstract art. Use interesting color schemes so your final artwork looks bright and the colors don’t blend into brown.

General Materials for Making Abstract Art

Keep a bucket of water handy for washing your hands or the art materials. A hose is handy, but you don’t want to accidentally spray water all over your artwork.

Have a stack of paper ready since these projects work up quickly. You may want to keep the paper in a plastic bag and set it away from where you are making art so the paper stays clean.

Making Abstract Art Outside
Making Abstract Art Outside

Use poster or tempera paints. Prepare for some of the projects by pouring some paint onto a plastic plate or palette. You may want to have a few plates, each with two or three paints so the colors don’t mix.

Specific materials you’ll need for the projects are listed in the descriptions.

Marble Painting

You will need a shallow cardboard box or tray and some marbles or even ping pong balls.

Set a piece of paper into the cardboard tray. Squeeze five or so drops of paint in different colors over the page. Set one marble onto a glob of paint. Next, tilt the box so the marble rolls across the page, going through the paint and dragging it over the paper.

You can try using two or three marbles at one time.

String Drop Art

Start by cutting six-inch lengths of yarn. Dip a piece of yarn into one color of the paint. Run your fingers along the yarn, spreading the paint. Hold the yarn above the paper and drop it onto the paper. Carefully peel the yarn off the paper. Continue using different colors until you like the result on the page.

Salad Spinner Art

You will need to cut squares or rectangles of paper that will fit flat in the basket of the salad spinner. Squeeze three-to-five different colors of paint onto the paper. Put the cover on the spinner. Turn the handle rapidly. After a minute, pull off the cover and see the results.

Toothbrush Splatter Art

Dip an old toothbrush in the paint. Hold the toothbrush, bristle side up, a few inches from the paper. Run a craft stick (or the handle of a paintbrush) over the bristles so the paint splatters over the paper. Wash and dry the toothbrush between color changes.

Drinking Straw Art

Squeeze small pools of paint onto the page. Blow through a drinking straw so you get the paint to move over the paper and create splatter designs. Take breaks so you don’t get dizzy!

If you do any of these projects indoors, set down a lot of newspaper or work on a vinyl tablecloth.

You can experiment with creating paintings with unusual tools – marbles, toothbrushes, salad spinners, and yarn. Because you can’t totally control the way the paint goes onto the paper, each technique creates a surprising finished product.