This circle painting activity has it all – it is child-led, creative, open-ended, and teaches a number of skills along the way. If you’re uncertain about what process art is or how to incorporate it, don’t miss reading more about process art and why it’s so beneficial.
Related: Fun Art Projects for Kids
It doesn’t take my preschool class long each year to realize that I’m a sucker for art projects. Especially those that are child-initiated! And process art is my favorite of all. Children learn and grow so much through process art. It allows them room to be themselves, make their own decisions, and just create!
This circle art was initially conceived when my kids asked for an art project and I didn’t have something already pre-planned. They say, “necessity is the mother of invention” and that always rings true for me! Some of the best projects and learning opportunities we’ve had have come when I least expected it.
While this art project was super fun on its own, it would be perfect to use as part of a preschool polka dot theme or shapes theme. You could even include it as part of a larger art theme and tie it back to a famous artist, as this teacher did!
Circle Art Materials
Since this was initially based on objects we had on hand, you can follow my lead and just grab items you already have to complete the painting. No special equipment required! Make sure each object has at least one surface that can be used to make a circle print, and that it’s something you can wash paint from (or don’t mind being colorful!)
Over the years we’ve intentionally added some objects to make sure that we have a variety of sizes and textures. Here are some ideas to get you started (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post).
- Baby food jars
- Circle Cookie Cutter
- Soda Bottles
- Measuring Cups
- Circular Wooden Clothespins
- Circular Sponges
- Condiment Bottle (you can use the bottom of the bottle, the opening, and both sides of the lid)
- Washable Tempera Paint
- White Construction Paper or Cardstock (the heavy-duty kind works best for painting!)
How to Set Up Your Circle Art Invitation
Have the kids help you gather circle-shaped objects from around the room. This can be a fun time to incorporate some different elements like color and size. “What’s the biggest/smallest circle you can bring me?” “Can you bring me a red circle?”
While they’re gathering, add large dabs of paint to paper plates for them to use. You’ll want enough so that everyone can reach the paint easily, maybe one plate of paint for every 2 to 3 kids.
Set out the construction paper. You can prepare one sheet for each child, but be prepared that they may quickly fill that one and ask for another! This process art project can be done while the kids are spread out at tables, or at easels.
You may want to use some paint shirts or smocks, depending on how enthusiastic your painters are!
Once everything is ready, call all the kids over and let them create!
Related: Dot Art for Kids
Painting with Circles
The kids dug in right away and required little explanation, which is my favorite kind of preschool art projects! They immediately started experimenting with the different ways that each object could make a circle.
They tested the different size circles each item made.
I loved seeing how different kids interacted with this invitation in different ways. Some very carefully stamped the object onto the paper to leave a clear circle, while others slid the objects around to make a streak. Each painting was different!
One child especially liked using a two liter soda bottle. He discovered that he could make splatters of paint by squeezing the bottle. He was rather gleeful in telling me, “when the air comes out of the bottle, it makes the paint do this!”
Another child used a baby food jar circle as the base shape for a flower. The rim made the middle, and then she used her finger to carefully add fingerprint flower petals.
Having paint-filled fingers, as you may have guessed, led to some finger painting, and then to some whole hand painting! Thankfully, I’m always up for some good messy play!
Circle Painting So Many Different Ways
That’s the beauty of process art! There is no set “end product” and each child is free to explore and create. While completing this circle painting activity, some want to use every circular object they can find, and others stick to just one tool. There are kids who finish their painting very quickly and others who are engaged for a lot longer. Some may even go on to fill many pages with circles!
No matter what they choose to do, it’s ok! Each child has had an amazing experience creating their masterpiece. They had a chance to explore the world around them, ask questions, and see how things work. They each learned so much in the process!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
Preschool Teacher 101 has created some amazing preschool lesson and activity plans that will be perfect for your classroom. The circle painting lesson will make a fun addition to these super-fun dot lesson plans!
Join the waiting list for The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101 today for exclusive access to our content. We have a variety of membership options to suit your needs.
Originally published January, 2013.