Wet chalk drawings

This is great as an outdoor activity if you have paved paths or a patio in the garden, but can also be done indoors on tiled floors, walls or even on paper. All you need to do is throw some chalk sticks into water – the chunkier the better, and we use washed out yogurt pots.

The wet chalk draws much more silkily than if it is dry making it a completely different art process, and it is easily washed away after. Outside the clean up should be minimal to non-existent, and even inside (assuming there aren’t any major water spills in inconvenient places) it’s straightforward to wipe up. Another great thing about this activity when it’s done on the ground or walls is that it provides such a huge art space, encouraging crossing the midline and spatial awareness.

My two started out using a fairly conventional drawing style which progressed first to block colouring tiles and then to experimenting with their hands and feet.

Box art

Before you recycle your boxes (nappies/diapers in this case), open them up and set the kids loose with their crayons, pencils and pens. Add in some stickers or tape for variety, or leave a big box intact and let them get inside to decorate it.

No set up, no mess. Sounds like a win win activity to me.

Marble painting

A classic minimal-mess painting activity! We used marbles (!) a click-seal food storage box, yogurt pots for coating our marbles in paint and spoons for scooping them into the box.

I’ve tried this a few times before with Zeph but until now he hasn’t been super interested. This time round he got a lot of joy from shaking the box around, and Elly couldn’t wait to take a turn either – probably because big brother was having so much fun.

Here’s how we did it:

1 – Squeeze paint into the yogurt pots – for Elly, this is the best part, sometimes the only part, of any painting activity. It used to be the same for Zeph, but at 4, he has started to enjoy the actual painting bit too. Even when the painting is not on himself.

2 – Drop marbles into the paint.

3 – Put a sheet of paper in the bottom of your box.


4 – Use a spoon to cover the marble in paint and scoop it into your box.


6 – Open up to see what you made.

Here are our first two, done one after another using the same marbles and without adding any extra paint. Lots of red – Zeph’s favourite colour! I love using art like this to cut out shapes and stick on homemade cards or use as gift labels.

This is my favourite one – Elly shook the box mostly on it’s side which meant the paint stayed more towards the bottom of the paper.


For thisĀ one we tried mixing pom poms with the marbles… Zeph insisted we still use at least some marbles, so the effect isn’t all that different the way it came out in the end.

20180208_1947551550704925.jpgAnd finally, Zeph tried shaking the marbles in an empty box before taking them out and then putting the paper in on top of the paint. I guess he got this idea because we’ve done printing style paining things before. He actually got into the box and stepped all over the paper to get the paint onto it.

I should add a caution though… despite its potential to be a minimal-mess activity, if your kids are anything like mine, it will probably end up messy anyway.