Painting Outdoors with Water & Brushes

Have you ever tried painting with just water? It's such a simple open ended activity to set up & great for children to discover & freely explore

We used a large bowl of water & a selection of different sized brushes.

Here's how Minnie experimented...

First she wanted to 'paint' the wall & chose the smallest brush (which I thought she manipulated pretty well for her age).

She then took her selection of brushes to another side of the house & discovered a brick on the ground. After painting the walls she spent some time painting the solitary brick by her feet & covered (or 'coloured' in her words) each side of it.

Then she moved onto wood...

She loved painting the wood & watching as it absorbed the water.

Minnie spent most of her time exploring the fence & painted each panel from top to bottom! She was completely focused on this activity, & it was great to see her studying the movement of the brush as she painted, carefully collecting more water when the brush was dry & returning to the  panel she was working on.

It was so interesting to observe how Minnie manipulated the larger & smaller brushes, & how her brush strokes became much smaller & much more detailed with the smaller brush.

This was a really fun outdoor art activity to help develop hand eye co-ordination, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, creativity & imagination too.


  1. I love doing this with my 2 year olds at school. One of the little boys discovered if you get the brush full of water then swish it, it made a cool dot pattern on the concrete. He then went on to discover he could get me and the other kids wet with that same method haha lots of fun! Thanks for the fun blog to read, and get ideas from. =]

  2. This is one of my favorite activities to share with parents. So simple, doable, and fun!

  3. We love to do this!!! My boys love to paint our fence with water and it always reminds me of Tom Sawyer! Thanks for sharing on our virtual playdate.

  4. Thank you for your lovely comments. Hooray for water play, the simplest ideas are always the best!:)

  5. Yes indeed, a staple favourite both from teaching days and now at home! Such a great activity for incorporating literacy, numeracy, art and best of all, messy joyful fun! I think your Minnie is much more lady-like than my big girl. She flings water all over the place and likes to paint her whole body as well as the walls! ;-)

  6. Hi, can i please use 1 photo to link back to you on my blog - post on preschool artists? I neglected to take a photo of this activity when we did it.

  7. Hi Lesley - yes that's fine as long as a link back to our blog accompanies the photo. Thanks for including us :)