Balloon Painting

This is a collection of a few ideas I’ve seen around the net. Hanging balloons to paint is in and of itself a unique, simple and super fun idea! The second piece of string securing the balloons to the ground came from Meredith at Homegrown Friends and the bird cage came from Piika Street melded together to be one giant process art project. Get out your drop cloth this one has the potential to be messy!

You will need:

  • a balloon
  • a piece of yarn dipped in white glue
  • two long pieces of yarn about as tall as you
  • tape
  • paint & paint brushes
drawing on balloons

Grown-up Setup 1:

  1. First you are going to blow up the balloon & tie it.
  2. Tape the end of the balloon to the table as best your can.
  3. Place a selection of markers on the table.
  4. Let your child draw on the balloon as desired.

Many children will easily spend 10 or more minutes experimenting with holds and drawing on the balloon. A sharpie yields the most satisfying results but that is to your discretion. I tend to have a more of an eye on my child when a sharpie is in their hand than I might otherwise, almost like a knife.

Sharpies are dangerous. But satisfying and wonderful to draw with.

Grown-up Setup 2:

  1. Get a small dish, jar or cup and fill it halfway with slightly watered down glue. Like 1:3.
    Or less. We used flour glue and it worked. Stickier the easier.
  2. Take one of the longest piece of string or yarn and tie the end of it to the balloon.
  3. Place the balloon and the cup on the table where your child will be working.

For your child to do:

  1. Dip the rest of the string into a shallow dish of glue.
  2. Wrap the string around the balloon until you get to the end of the string.
  3. Each pass should go from top to bottom securing each using the end.
    This bit was tricky. I had hoped my little 6 could do it but he doesn’t really like messy fingers. Stickier glue would make this better.

Tuck the end of the string along side another piece and place somewhere to dry.

Grown-up Setup 3:

When the balloon is dry.

  1. Choose 2 or 3 colours of paint and brushes and set out on a covered clear area in which to work.
  2. Tape the balloon to the table.
  3. Let your child paint the balloon.

Instead of brushes you could easily use sponges instead.
They are a little easier to manage along side the challenge of the moving balloon.

Grown-up Setup 4:
Painted Balloons from Capturing Parenthood

When the balloon is dry from the previous activity.

  1. Choose 2 or 3 different colours of paint and brushes and set out on a covered clear area in which to work.
  2. Take the second piece of string and tack it or tape it to your ceiling above the work area.
  3. Tie the other end to the end of the balloon.
  4. Let your child paint the balloon to their hearts content using brushes or sponges. Preferably not their fingers, that’s cheating!
  5. Let dry.

Depending on your area you can tie the balloon to the back of a chair or a hanging light fixture or a post. You want the balloon to swing freely without hitting your walls or any uncovered areas.

Because the balloon is going to swing freely.

Maybe do this in your garage. Or in the driveway.

Novel play prompt:
Balloon Lanterns from Prepare2Play

When everything is dry, pop the balloon.

Depending on how thick your child’s paint project is the balloon might not peel away as nicely as it would have before we added all the paint.

But would be a perfect fine motor exercise to keep those little fingers busy wouldn’t it!

Now you have a bird cage – if you add a little paper cutout bird. Or a hanging decoration for your backyard tea party.

Or maybe your child wants to make some bird food for their pet bird.

Aluminum Foil Collage

Painting on tinfoil is a little bit novel so hopefully this project will engage some of our more reluctant arts and crafts friends. It’s also a lovely sensory experience so be sure to let the toddlers join in.
The tinfoil will rip and tear if it is rubbed aggressively with anything sharp or hard so be sure to use a big fat brush or a sponge for the glue. Personally a glue sponge is my favorite way to apply glue or using watered down white glue with a brush also works. Feel free to add a drop of paint to your glue for a bit of extra fun.

tinfoil canvas glue tissue paper paintbrush

You will need:

  • Cardboard wrapped with aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper
  • Small cup or tray of glue (or glue sponge)
  • Paintbrush (if using a cup of glue)
  • Sequins or glitter

Optional things to add more depth to your collage

  • Hole punch (to hole punch card stock)
  • Card stock
  • Felt
  • Fabric

Set up the materials in an inviting and attractive way. If your child is new to art maybe add the first few pieces of tissue paper in front of them and then offer them the opportunity to continue.

Let them freely explore and create a beautiful shiny masterpiece!

Extend it!

  1. Have your child wrap and tape their own tinfoil canvas.
  2. Let your child cut their own paper pieces.
  3. Encourage them to add layers and overlap the pieces or even smush up the pieces and make it 3D!

Painted Pasta Beads

Macaroni necklaces are a tried and true time honored classic activity. My 6 year old wore his pasta bead necklace until he forgot to take it off in the shower and it crumbled. This extension on the activity came from the lovely Kate at Picklebums.

Your child can paint the pasta before or after threading it’s up to you. It will probably be a little less messy if they do it after.

pasta noodles and thread

You will need:

  • Threadable Pasta – macaroni, rigatoni, ziti, penne
  • Piece of yarn long enough to fit around your child’s head plus some extra just in case.
  • Masking tape
  • Tempra Paint
  • Paint brushes (one for each colour of paint)

I like to start by setting my child up for success and a yes space.
This means covering the immediate area (chair, table, floor) with plastic or newspaper or some form of drop cloth so you aren’t stressing about spills.

I also am likely to tape the end of the yarn to the table or tie a piece of pasta to the end of it. This stops the pieces from coming off the end and ruining all your little one’s hard work.

Lightly tape the end of the yarn with a piece of masking tape so it is stiff and will thread through the pasta a little more easily.

Put the pasta in a bowl and you are ready to go!

When it comes time to paint less is more or your pasta will get soggy so choose a smaller brush and offer a small amount of paint.

Personally I like offering just two primary colours so that any mixing that happens results in a colour theory learning opportunity.

Make sure your child knows they’ll need to let the creation dry before wearing it!

Toddler Adaptation

If your toddler can’t quite master the yarn and pasta you they can use straws instead.
Or stick the straws in a lump of play dough for your toddler to thread the pasta onto.