Marble Painting

Preschoolers love to paint. They paint with paintbrushes, stamps, and their fingers. They love the feel of the paint and the textures they can create with different materials. Preschoolers make sense of their world and the things that interest them through art. In a world that is largely too big for them, preschoolers can express their feelings and create something that is uniquely theirs.

Painting of all sorts is a wonderful open-ended art activity. It allows the preschooler to take charge. They are in control and they can let their imagination run wild, rather than following the strict cut and paste guidelines.

What You Need

Table of Contents

The bottom of a cardboard box
Large or small marbles
Paper plate or plastic bowl

What To Do

For this activity, you need the bottom of a cardboard box or the lid of a box with a rim around it tall enough to keep the marbles in the box. I find that the lids to printer paper boxes work really well for this. They are already the right size since they were designed to hold paper and you don’t have to do any additional cutting to make it small enough for preschoolers to control.

Place the piece of paper in the bottom of the box. Fill the paper plate or plastic bowl with the paint of your choice. You can either roll the marbles in the paint or paint them with a paintbrush. Drop the marbles into the box, on top of the paper, and let the preschoolers hold the box with two hands and tilt it back and forth. The marbles will roll around and create an exciting design.


For younger preschoolers, or if you don’t want to deal with the mess of coating the marbles in paint, you can follow the same instructions above. Instead of coating the marbles in paint, squirt some paint directly on top of the paper inside the box. Drop the clean marbles into the box and tilt the box so they roll around the paper. To create different designs squirt different colors of paint on different places on your paper. Try several variations and see what kind of designs you can come up with.

Preschoolers enjoy painting with something a little different. It makes painting an entirely new activity. This art activity can be altered to fit several preschool themes. After you have used the marbles to paint the paper, allow it to dry, and then cut it into various shapes. Some easy formations are eggs, shapes, masks, hands, feet, and apples.