Painting with Marbles -Action Art For child

Creating and moving is a win-win combination for kids and sometimes the best type of making and creating is loud, energetic and involves lots of action! We both love painting with marbles. Not only is it action-packed and engaging, it’s also incredibly simple to set up. And bonus, you get to create some gorgeous pieces of abstract art. You can turn them into other art projects too – more on that later.

Most children I know jump at the chance to paint with marbles as you get your whole body moving to create. Action art is suitable for both younger and older children and it’s toddler approved too!

Painting with marbles is seriously fun you have to try it!

Let me tell you why.

  • It focuses on the process.
  • It’s energetic and will get you moving and probably laughing.
  • It requires very little in the way of materials.
  • Both older and younger children will love it- it’s a great one to do as a family too.
  • It creates magnificent expressive & abstract pieces.
  • It’s great for co-ordination and if your toddler is anything like mine they will get out so much energy at the same time!

It goes without saying but please supervise young children as there are small parts in this activity.

Here’s how we painted with marbles.

What you will need

Acrylic paint washable is preferable especially with younger children

Egg carton or paint tray




Cardboard box or tray with deep sides


Step 1: Prepare for painting with marbles

Squeeze some paint into empty egg cartons or paint tray, place the paper into your cardboard box, and arrange the spoons and the marbles within reach. It is also a great idea to cover your work surface. Heads up we had some some flying marbles.

Step 2: Add the marbles to the paint

Place one marble into each paint colour and mix with the spoon to cover them. Then drop them onto your paper. My little one grabbed lots of paint with each marble and it still worked just as well. You could even just spoon the paint onto the paper and drop the marbles in, your call.

Step 3: Roll your marbles around

Next, the fun part, roll your marbles around, lift and tilt the box to move the marbles in different directions. The marbles will leave interesting lines and patterns of paint. Add more marbles or take them out. You can make multiple pieces or work on the same piece by adding more paint-covered marbles.

My 2-year-old shook the cardboard box like crazy, the noise of the marbles hitting each other seemed to make him shake it even more and we did have a few marbles that bounced out of the tray, which he found hilarious.

I also had some paint chip cards in some various colours that we experimented with, I love how these turned out. They look so great grouped together on the wall.

He soon got the hang of slowly tilting the box from side to side.

There is no right or wrong way to do this, experiment and work out what is best for you.

Playing around: Using your creations

Your paintings are wonderful just as they are. You can hang them up to display and enjoy them and you can do some other things with them too.

Some ideas for you:

  1. Use some festive colours and turn these into some homemade Christmas cards.
  2. Create a display, if you’re doing this with lots of children or have multiple prints as we did then you can create a gorgeous display on the wall.
  3. Rip up some of the paper and use in other collage projects.
  4. Go out into nature and collect some small stones or nature items gum nuts or seed pods could be interesting objects to experiment with.
  5. Cut your paper into various shapes and stick down with some blue tack, then thread them onto a garland.

Have you tried painting with marbles? We will definitely be repeating the experience again maybe on a larger scale, the artful parent does in a kids swimming pool

Here’s how they turned out. I am in love, the colours are so vibrant and happy!

If you try this out be sure to let me know, I love seeing your art!

We will be exploring more action based art in coming posts, so stay tuned.

Check out my other recent post on creating a gorgeous butterfly symmetry print


About Emma - Founder of Art Play Heart and passionate advocate of getting as many children as possible to enjoy art making in their lives! There is nothing more magnificent than watching a child or anyone for that matter flourish and discover themselves and the world around them through being creative and making art in all its glorious forms.

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