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10 Fun Ideas for Painting with Balls

When it comes to painting with young kids, you are limited only by your imagination in finding different ways to paint and interesting props to paint with.

Ball painting for toddlers and preschoolers can be tons of fun and can take many different forms, from rolling ball art to ball stamping.

Instead of using paint brushes, you’ll be using painting balls! You can use almost any balls you find at home or school. Look for different patterns, sizes, textures, etc.

A variety of colorful balls

There are also many benefits of painting, such as:

Painting can be a great form of messy play and this activity has all the benefits of sensory play too.

Here are 10 easy-to-set-up ideas for painting with balls.

1. Ball Stamping

All you need for this activity are some trays, paper, paint and balls that have interesting shapes for printing.

Pour some paint into trays or containers and let kids dip the balls into the paint and stamp them onto a paper to see what shapes they make. 

Printing and stamping can be done in many ways, with various materials – potato printing, sponge printing, leaf printing, stamping with blocks and shapes, etc.

Painting with a ball dipped in red paint.

2. Roller Ball Painting

Find a cardboard box or large plastic container and lay a sheet of paper on the inside. Place some balls inside and drop paint onto the paper.

This artwork is created by the rolling balls. As the balls roll around the paint, they make patterns and designs on the paper, creating a unique look.

This idea is great for containing the mess as kids’ hands don’t have to touch the paint at all.

Splatter the paint onto the paper with a paintbrush or get kids to use eye-droppers to drop paint in. Use a single colour or multiple colours to show the effects of the mixing of paint colours.

3. Dip the Ball

The previous idea is a fun way to paint while staying clean, but if your kids are anything like my toddler, they’ll prefer to be covered in paint and make as much mess as possible.

Offer some trays with paint in them and some paper. Let kids dip the balls into the paint and move them on paper any way they like.

Their fingers (and more) will be covered in paint but by holding the painted balls, they get to control the patterns and experiment with the different balls, finding out things like:

  • What types of patterns they make
  • What happens if they drag the ball, pat the ball down, roll it gently, or with more pressure
  • The difference in the lines created by the various balls

After the activity, discuss the different lines and patterns that the balls make.

4. Paint the Ball

Give kids some small tubs of paint, paintbrushes, paper and some balls of different sizes and patterns. 

For this variation, instead of dipping the balls into trays, let kids paint the balls themselves (great for developing fine motor control and finger strength) and then roll them along a piece of paper to make designs. 

They will love the extra mess factor!

These kinds of patterns make great DIY wrapping paper.

Art with a ball and red paint

5. Easel Painting

Painting is an activity that can take place on multiple surfaces and levels. While most of these options work great on the floor or tabletop, try letting kids paint with the balls at an easel.

Easels are great for working the large muscles and developing midline crossing

Leave the balls in trays of paint and let your kids create while standing upright.

6. Golf Ball Painting

A popular option is to use golf balls in a box and let them roll around the paint to make patterns

Painting with a golf ball in a box
Golf balls covered in paint

7. Painting with Marbles

Or, throw some marbles into a box or container and let kids make some marble paint art.

Marble painting with toddlers can be done on a smaller scale, in a smaller container such as a box lid, teaching kids to control the container and move the balls from side to side.

8. Ping-Pong Balls

Don’t have golf balls or marbles? No problem. What about ping-pong balls? You can use almost any balls you can find.

Ping-ping balls are nice and smooth and can even be used as paintbrushes. Kids can dip them in paint and make strokes by running the balls along the paper.

9. Paired Painting

Practise teamwork skills by getting two children to work on a rolling ball paint craft together. 

Let them hold opposite ends of the box while they roll a ball back and forth to each other, making paint patterns as they play.

10. Free Painting

This may not be the best option if you want to try a particular ball art and craft, but it will certainly be an option for a process art session – where the focus is just on the process of creating and not on the outcome.

Why not try setting up some bottles of paint, balls, brushes, paper and containers and letting kids decide how to create with these materials?

They might choose on their own to stamp the balls, paint them, roll them and dip them, etc. Part of doing art is just about letting kids experiment with materials and think up their own ways to create.

After you’ve attempted these ball art activities, why not try these fun ball activities that include lots of movement ideas?

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