Corn painting is a well-loved process art activity that you definitely want to add to your list of fall activities for preschoolers. It’s perfect as part of a farm theme or even a unit about vegetables, too.
You really don’t need many materials for the corn art, and it’s incredibly easy to set up. It’s versatile in that it works just as well with different colors of paint. And you can make it a collaborative corn cob painting activity, or you can let the kids create independently.
I have done some variation of painting with corn for years and years (and years!) now. It never fails to engage and inspire the children, no matter their age. Plus, as with most activities for young children, it lets the kids practice a variety of early learning skills as they paint.
Related: Art Projects for Kids
How to Set up Corn Painting in Your Classroom
As I mentioned above, this is an art activity I’ve done a variety of times with preschoolers, kindergartners, and elementary-aged children.
Along the way, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks for making the process as easy and fun as possible.
Materials for Corn Art
Below are the items we generally use when painting with corn. You can definitely adapt the concept to fit with the materials you already have on-hand.
I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
- 3 corn cobs
- Corn cob holders
- Tempera paint in red, yellow, and orange
- 9 x 12 white construction paper
- White canvas
Related: Fall Art Projects
Preparing the Corn Painting Invitation
To begin with, have the children help you shuck the corn and remove all the extraneous strings from the cob.
This entertained my students, which just cracked me up!
Then add the corn cob holders to each of the corn cobs.
Next up, pour some paint on paper plates or reusable paint dishes. Just make sure that there’s enough room for the kids to roll the corn in the paint.
Then it’s time to call the children over to do some corn painting! I prefer to do this one-on-one or in small groups.
This is a great time to talk about planting and eating corn, as well as the texture of the corn and the husks.
Creating Art With Corn
From there, you can let your students start creating their corn cob art!
When I do this with children, I like to explain that they’re going to create art with corn.
I usually explain that the children can use paintbrushes to add the paint to the corn or they can roll the corn in the paint.
One of my exclaimed, “Really? We get to paint with REAL corn?!” Can you tell he was excited about the corn painting?!
Another child said, “The corn with the handles are kinda like a rolling pin!”
This is the perfect time to sit and chat with the children, letting them paint and explore as they see fit. I always find it so fun to see what the kids choose to do.
Over the years, most of the children rolled to create their corn painting masterpieces.
Some did decide to bounce the corn cobs, and a few even tried sliding them.
As new techniques were tried, we talked about how they were different.
Talking About the Corn Cob Painting
As I’ve already mentioned, I love chatting with the children as they create their art.
Each time we’ve done this corn painting project, there has always been a ton of discussion! Can you say “language development”?!
The children described what they observed, and talked about textures and different ways to paint with corn.
One year, we even ended up in a silly conversation about the corn rolling all the way to Brazil.
When asked, the kiddos said the corn would be eating spaghetti in Brazil.
These children make me laugh every day!
Related: Corn Mosaic Art
Collaborative Corn Art
One year, after the children made individual corn paintings, we decided to make a collaborative version.
That particular year, the kids were all about art. In every shape and form! So we came up with a variety of canvas art ideas for the kids to make together.
Corn painting together was a fun process for the children, and it went a long way in cementing our classroom community.
My preschool director had some canvases in her office, so we grabbed one to use.
The children took turns and worked together to create a beautiful piece of art for our classroom!
We made sure to hang it on the wall as soon as it was dried.
What Do the Kids Learn While Corn Painting?
I happen to think that making art just for art’s sake is just fine. What about you?
Even though that’s my thought about it, you can’t deny that there’s still a lot of learning taking place here.
This simple corn painting art project helped the children explore:
- Creative expression
- Color theory (red and yellow makes orange)
- Language skills
- Fine motor skills
- Observational skills
Will you be trying out this corn painting idea in your classroom? If so, be sure to let me know how it goes!
If you’d like more ideas along these lines, please check out my Preschool Farm Theme Pinterest board.
More Preschool Farm Theme Activities
Here are some more farm-themed kid activities you can try with your students.
Just click on the link to be taken to each of the ideas.
Farm Animals Beginning Sounds Game from Fun Learning for Kids
Labeling at the Farm from Growing Book by Book
Mystery Animal Book from The Educators’ Spin On It
While at the Farm: Children’s Song from Capri+3
Farm Animals Counting and Sorting Sensory Bin from Life Over C’s
Farm Themed Count and Add Activity for Preschool from Rainy Day Mum
Preschool Science: Duck Feather Experiment from Raising Lifelong Learners
Farm Animal Sort from Powerful Mothering
Wash the Farm: Fruits and Vegetables Sensory Play from The Kennedy Adventures
Discovery Table Farm Activities from Little Bins for Little Hands
Easier Planning for Preschool
Take back some of your spare time with done-for-you resources from Preschool Teacher 101.
Click on the images below for more information about each one.
Check out the membership option for even more time-saving, stress-reducing ideas.
Originally published September 17, 2014.