Ball Art for Preschoolers & Toddlers – Let’s Paint!

Let’s do preschool ball art and crafts today! This very simple ball art painting idea is great for even the youngest artists because in this painting project, the balls do all the work. The process of this ball art is fun and easy and the finished artwork can often be surprising!

Painting With Balls - ball art project for toddlers preschoolers and kids of all ages - colorful painting with multiple balls
Let’s do a ball art project!

Painting With Balls Project

If you have ever walked through a modern art museum and thought…my toddler or preschooler could have painted this, we have the perfect ball art project for you!  I love this easy art idea for kids of all ages using balls to paint.

Grab some balls you have around the house: golf balls, tennis balls, Whiffle balls, marbles, sensory balls, dryer balls…whatever you can find because we are going to do a painting project with all those balls.

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Supplies Needed to Create Preschool Ball Artwork

Note: This project was messy — no kid can resist squeezing or smooshing the paint!

Directions for Art Project with Balls & Paint

Watch Our Short Video Tutorial on Painting with Balls


Put puddles of paint onto a paper plate and the canvas or poster board in the bottom of the cardboard box.

Step 1

Dip a ball into the paint puddle. Start with covering at least part of the ball.

Step 2

Place ball on canvas or poster board and start rolling the ball around leaving trails of paint.

Painting With Balls project for toddlers and preschoolers - canvas in the bottom of the cardboard box with paint-filled balls and trails of color.
Roll the balls around the canvas leaving a colorful trail of paint behind.

Step 3

Repeat with the same ball, other balls, the same color of paint or other colors of paint.

Painting With Balls- child holding up canvas of ball art with bright colors of orange, red, green, yellow and red
Let’s see that finished ball art!

Learning Opportunities with this Art Project

Do your kids enjoy making a mess?   I know that mine do!  And one of our favorite ways is Painting With Balls.

Try these conversations and little art experiments while you are painting with balls:

  • Race between two similar balls.   Dip one in plain paint and dip the other in paint mixed with either flour or cornstarch. Guess which ball would roll faster.   Why did you make that guess?
  • Does a ball roll faster if the canvas is tilted slightly or at a steep slant?
  • What happens when a ball dipped in red paint rolls over a ball path of yellow or blue paint?   What happens when all the colors smear together?
  • Which ball spreads the most paint?   Which one spreads the least?   We found that the tennis ball had the most coverage, while the dryer ball just left speckles.

Messy Art Projects for Kids

I got to thinking about the importance of being messy with kids sometimes from the book, Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes, by Keri Smith.   This is such a fun book filled with activities and ideas of ways to make art from messes, or rather to appreciate mess as a form of art (I am starting to wonder if by her standards I have some budding Rembrandt’s).

The “manual” encourages us as the reader to destroy the book with our mess art. The part of me who married a librarian cringes at that thought.   Our copy is pristine, but we had fun making a mess on a canvas  we had lying about.

One of the entries suggested that we make a mess by rolling and smearing. This reminded me of the activity I read about on where the kids experience physics and gravity by rolling marbles on a canvas. We didn’t have marbles, but we did have a giant canvas and a variety of different types of balls!

This was a blast!

Have your kids made a mess lately? What did they think of this painting with balls project? How did your art turn out?


  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    We would love this at my house.

  2. Looks like a blast! Only what I want to know is who cleaned up the mess? 🙂

  3. This looks like GREAT fun!

    Yes, we make mess pretty much every day and we love it.

    Right now the lawn is smothered in sequins and glitter from my daughter’s butterfly birthday party activities over a week ago! Guests said “Oh no, what a nightmare for you” and I said “It’s absolutely FABULOUS!!”


  4. How much fun is that! You are such an awesome mom! The kids must have had a ball! ….literally! LOL.

  5. So fun! I will have to get that book! I had my son paint with golf balls and he loved it. Once he is older we can expand more with your questioning. LOVE it!

  6. This looks like so much fun! You have a great selection of fun shaped balls – nice idea adding the dryer ball. I would put that art on my wall, for sure. I am definitely working on my aversion to mess; letting the kids really get their hands dirty is so important!

    We’ll be trying this someday, after we dry out from all this rain!

  7. Totally fun idea! I now have to go out and get me some balls like this! My kids are going to love this! Have a great day, Quirky!

  8. This makes for wonderfully creative play time. I like that there is very little structure and yet high yield. The kids get to make something with having to stay within the lines or follow very specific rules. Free play rocks!

  9. You are one brave Mommy- kudos! Kids + Making Mess = Happy. I happen to love the finished piece. I used to hang my son’s all over the house in frames. Kid art is great!

  10. I tried something like this last year! But instead of a box, we just used a really large cardboard paper! The kids wore smocks that day and the balls just kept rolling around the classroom! haha It was a lot to clean up afterward, but it was still a lot of fun to do!

  11. This looks sooo much fun!! I love using cars, truck and other wheeled toys to make marks in paint but not tried balls yet, thanks for the great idea!

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