The best kind of art project for preschoolers is open-ended. That means, give your children art supplies and let them go wild. Blank paper and paint will stimulate their imaginations far more than any coloring book. In fact, feel free to throw out all the coloring books. 

I like Crayola or Colorations (available at for crayons, colored pencils and markers. 

I like Colorations tempera paint. I really like the spill proof paint cups as well. Helpful tip - add one pump of liquid hand soap to each paint cup and stir before letting children paint. It makes clean up much easier and reduces staining.

I like Colorations liquid watercolors - they are useful for so many art and science projects.

Here are some of my favorite art projects:

Alternatives to Brushes

·         Cookie Cutters

They work well with tempera paint, make designs, and look especially nice when overlapped.

Cookie cutters on slick finger paint paper (available at Michalel's) makes great wrapping paper. Select shapes and colors to fit the occasion. 

·         Cotton Swabs

They work best with liquid watercolors but can be used with tempera paint.


·         Craft Sticks

They work well with tempera paint.

To use, spoon some paint onto paper and use the craft sticks to scrape designs.


·         Eye Droppers

They work well with liquid watercolors.


·         Fingers

They work well with tempera paint.

Children love the sensory experience of painting directly with their fingers.


·         Flowers and Plants

They work well with tempera paint or liquid watercolors depending on what flower or plant you use.

Feathery and leafy flowers and plants make very different images.


·         Marbles

They work well with tempera paint.

To use, place in a box with construction paper and paint, close the box and shake.


·         Sponges

Sponges work well with tempera paint and provide a sensory experience. If your child doesn't want to get messy, use clothespins to handle sponges instead of bare fingers.


·         Spools

They work well with tempera paint.


·         Toy Cars

They work well with tempera paint.

You can get them cheap at dollar stores.


·         Vegetables and Fruit

They work well with tempera paint.

Items like potatoes or apples work best when cut in half.

Potatoes and carrots can have designs carved into them to make stamps.

Dip in paint and drive over paper to make car tracks.

·         Yarn

It works well with tempera paint.

Puffy Paint

You will need: shaving cream, white glue, liquid watercolors

Fill a paint cup 3/4 full with shaving cream. Add a drizzle of white glue and a few drops of liquid watercolors or food coloring. Stir just until blended.

You can use brushes, fingers, whisks and other kitchen utensils to make fun designs. 

Butterflies and Flowers

You will need: white coffee filters, liquid watercolors, small brushes q tips or eye droppers, pipe cleaners

Use small brushes, q tips or eye droppers to paint on coffee filters. Allow to dry. 

For a butterfly, lay coffee filter flat. Gather bottom edge of circle towards top of circle, pinching the middle together. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle, twist twice and fold ends over a bit for antennae.

For a flower, hold coffee filter in middle. Push down in middle, gathering the rest of the coffee filter into a cone shape. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the bottom point of the cone to be the stem.

Chalk Paint

This is a great activity to do outside. If painting on the sidewalk, use old brushes because the sidewalk can be abrasive.  

1. Cornstarch 
2. Water 
3. Liquid watercolors or food coloring 
4. Paint cups 
5. Spoons 
6. Brushes  

1. Mix one part cornstarch to one part water 
2. Add a few drops of coloring 
3. Stir well with spoon 
4. Using brushes, paint outside on the sidewalk, walls, etc  
5. Paint will hose off easily when dry