Art for kids can be fun, quick, easy and experimental! This simple sponge painting technique is all of that and more.
We’ve probably all done classic sponge painting before where the child has a selection of paint colours in a tray and then dips the sponge into the paint. But have you tried it the other way around?
Supplies for Rainbow Sponge Painting – Art For Kids
- 1 or more sponges (Having a few means you don’t have to keep washing them out in-between colour swaps.)
- Squirty paint UK / US (watercolour or acrylic)
- Large sheets or rolls of paper. Melissa & Doug do a good Easel Paper Roll UK / US
How to Make a Rainbow Sponge Painting
I love art for kids that they can develop in their own way and whenever I do any art or craft with my children I always try to remember that it is the process that is more important than the finished piece.
To begin with we chatted about the colours of a rainbow and their order. For the sake of pretty pictures for this post the children wanted to create a “perfect rainbow” and were very determined to get the paint in the correct order. I think they did a great job!
Instead of dipping the sponges into the paint they squirted blobs of paint directly onto the sponge straight from the tubes. This is great for their hand-eye co-ordination and they had to think about how much paint they needed, where they wanted it and control its flow. For younger children you might prefer to help them squeeze out a suitable amount of paint or let them brush, spoon or syringe it on instead.
Once they’d got the rainbow paint colours all lined up they simple swept it across the large sheets of paper.
The first time we tried this we used a dry sponge and the sponge absorbed a lot of the paint. So the children went on to explore using a wet sponge as a starter too. The colours went further but we found that they weren’t as vibrant, blended more and didn’t leave such clear distinctions between the colours.
Rainbow Sponge Painting and The Learning Opportunities?
Of course there are lots of opportunities to talk about colours.
- Can the children name all the different colours?
- Do the children know of other things the same colour as that tube of paint?
- Can the children sort the colours in Rainbow order?
- What’s their favourite colour and why?
Let’s look at colour mixing.
- Do the children notice what happens when the colours touch each other and mix together? Do they see changing shades or even new colours being made?
- Can they name the new colour made?
- Can they predict what colours are made when putting certain colours together?
There are lots of hand-eye co-ordination, fine and gross motor skills going on here.
- Can the children squeeze out the paint?
- Can they line the paints up?
- Can they sweep their arm across the arch of the rainbow? What other shapes can they make?
Rainbow Sponge Painting – Art For Kids – Variations/Extensions
I love the pretty rainbows that are made with this art activity but once the children understand the method I think it is so valuable to let them explore that technique in a free way.
You could encourage their exploration by adding:
- different shaped sponges.
- scissors for cutting sponges.
- a wider or more restricted paint colour selection.
- different textured and coloured paper.
- adding alternative ways to move the paint onto the sponge such as syringes, pipettes, blunt knives etc.
- wet and dry sponges.
- wet and dry paper.
- different types of paint.
Given the freedom to explore it is amazing to see what colours, shapes, and patterns the children will discover for themselves.
Looking for more RAINBOW ideas? You might like to look at:
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