13 Art Activities That You Can Set Up in Minutes

We’re always on the hunt for quick and easy art activities. The less mess (and the more fun), the better! Your budding artists will love these activities and you’ll love that they require few materials and minimal setup. Keep reading to check them out.

Rock Painting

Color Made Happy

Gather up some rocks from your backyard or hiking trail, then let your little artists go to town with rock painting. There are lots of different ways to paint rocks, and Color Made Happy runs down all the different materials you can use, from acrylic paint to pastels to pens.

Cupcake Liner Flowers

One Little Project

How cute are these homemade flowers from One Little Project? Cupcake liners and popsicle sticks come together to make a quick craft that won’t make a mess. Kids can make a few to turn into a mini garden.

Tie Dye Coffee Filter Art

Little Bins for Little Hands

Making tie dye shirts is a multi-day process, so this activity from Little Bins for Little Hands incorporates all the fun of tie dying without the hassle. Coffee filters are the perfect canvas to watch colors spread and combine, and they dry out pretty quickly too.

Streamer Rainbows

Happiness Is Homemade

Bring some color into your space with this super sweet idea from Happiness Is Homemade. Kids can practice their fine motor skills as they glue rainbow streamers and fluffy cotton balls onto a paper plate.

Pipe Cleaners and Peg Dolls

Mini Monets and Mommies

Peg dolls are a super-easy crafts for kids to make. And they get to play with them too. Yay! All you need are markers, modeling clay and a few pipe cleaners to turn blank pegs into fab little friends. Check out how Mini Monets and Mommies made interchangeable clay wigs and pipe cleaner clothes.

Double-Sided Tape Art

No glue required. Sprinkle glitter, craft sand or sequins over double-sided tape. Kids can create shapes, letters, words or abstract designs.

Ziploc Finger Painting

S. Massey

It doesn't get any easier than this, friends. With nothing but a ziplock baggie and paint, you've set your pint-sized Picasso (and yourself) up for endless fun. Another option: Try taping the bag to a window or a door so you can see light filter through the designs, or add glitter to bags for an extra sparkle.

Clay Finger Paint

You want your creative kid to go wild with rainbow finger paints. Um, but you’re not into the idea of spending your Monday night cleaning Jackson Pollock-esque splatters from the walls. Swap in soft modeling clay for the actual paints. Pull it into pieces and “paint” it onto cardboard. It’s a totally low-mess art activity that lets your little one create a textured "painting."

Recycled Texture Collage

Reuse those old worksheets, tissue paper and anything else in a collage. Glue these onto a cardboard base, creating textures and patterns. Kids can practice scissor skills, explore through their senses and create collages that are either abstract or look like “something” real.

Felt Patterns

Cut shapes out of craft felt in different colors. Your child can press the shapes against a full felt sheet to create patterns. Oh, and this one is reusable too.

Frozen Chalk Paint

Mini Monets and Mommies

Make this one ahead of time or get your science on and have the kids explore states of matter changes (liquid to solid and solid to liquid transformations). Oh, and this is also ideal if you have loads of those teeny tiny chalk nubs hanging around the bottom of your art bin. Grind them up, add some water, freeze and let your child draw her afternoon away.

Paint with Nature

Hands On As We Grow

Paintbrushes, who needs them? Not your child. Get some fresh air after school and gather a few natural items. When your child has plenty of pinecones, stems, sticks and other nature-y items ready, paint like Hands On As We Grow did!

Foam Prints

Reuse Styrofoam plates or trays. Use a craft stick to ‘draw’ a design, add tempera and press onto a piece of construction paper. Wash the plates and reuse them, making as many prints as your child wants—in different colors. When the prints are dry, add onto them with paint, chalk or markers.

—Susie Foresman & Erica Loop



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