STEAM Projects For Preschool Kids: Rainy Day Painting

Reading Time: 3 minutes

rainy day painting STEAM

I can honestly say our daughter’s preschool teachers don’t know whether to love me or hate me. After a recent “Parent at Preschool Day”, I introduced the kids to “Rainy Day Painting.” On one hand, I encouraged the kids to create artwork in a new way. On the other hand, they now have a bunch of kids who think playing in the rain, with paint, is fun.

And it is. *grin*

What is Rainy Day Painting?

The idea is to use rain to transform your artwork. Since I was working with preschoolers (ages 3 to 4 years old), I opted to keep this as easy as possible. And because I like our preschool teachers, I also opted to keep the clean-up as easy as possible.

You can use any water-based coloring. I find water-based textas work best. The preschool has since explored with watercolor coloring pencils as well but they agree the textas are easy to work with and produce the most vibrant results.

What You Need

  • Water-color Textas in BRIGHT colors
  • Thick paper or cardboard (anything that won’t sog under a few drops of water)
  • A Drying Area or Rack
  • A Rainy Day (a watering can spray bottle on mist setting works as well, if you can’t find a leaky cloud)
rainy day painting STEAM
Photo taken by EG Mum

What You Do

  1. Draw a BIG BRIGHT BEAUTIFUL picture. The messier the better. As an example for the kids, I started with block colors to make a rainbow.
  2. Take it outside
  3. Allow a few big drops to fall on the artwork. Not TOO many drops or your paper will becoming soggy
  4. Encourage the water to move around a bit on the paper; this creates some really cool swirly effects
  5. Allow to dry – if you want it to dry exactly as you see it, dry it flat on a table or bench. If you want a drippy drizzle effect, hang it to dry but make sure you put a towel or cardboard underneath for any color drips off / through the paper.
rainy day painting
Photo taken by EG Mum

Using Rainy Day Painting As a STEAM Project

Here at GeekMom, we love encouraging STEM in everything our kids do. Often there are ways to include the Arts with this (thus STEAM), and I have found this especially appropriate for younger preschool kids. Most preschoolers really love the visual cues received from the arts. Rainy Day Painting is a great example of this.

From an art perspective, I love this project because it teaches kids about how different elements can change their art. There are so many different ways to create art; this is just another one!

I was surprised, however, when the kids started asking some scientific and engineering questions:

  • Why do the colors move on the paper?
  • Why does the water move across the paper?
  • At what point will the paper start to absorb the water?
  • At what point will the paper say “TOO MUCH WATER” and break?
  • Why don’t the colors move without the water?

Preschool kids amaze me every day.

If you are worried about kids being out in the rain, I can guarantee these kids were not ‘Out In The Rain’. They stood under the awning and held their paper out to catch the big drops falling nearby. However, if you are looking for an alternative, try using a water can or liquid dropper or spray bottle for the same effect.

Rainy day painting was such a hit, the kids have asked to do more! I’ve created a monster!! But it’s a monster that encourages our younger kids to create and experiment in new wonderful ways. And that’s the best monster of all.