Learn how to use water balloons for a super fun snow painting activity. Perfect as part of your planned winter activities for preschoolers, or as an impromptu snowy surprise.
Related: Winter Process Art
Oh, this activity is just chock full of awesomeness. If I do so say, myself!
Tons of snowy fun? ✔
Process art? ✔
Open-ended messy play? ✔
Exploring science through art? ✔
As you can see, there is so much goodness packed into what is, inherently, a very simple activity. That’s a win in my book!
If you live where it snows, this is a wonderful process art activity to keep in your back pocket.
Grab the supplies ahead of time and keep them at the ready for your next snowfall. Then grab the kids and get everything ready to go. It won’t take too long.
Water Balloon Painting Materials
You just need a few supplies for this snow painting activity (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Water balloons
- Food coloring (you can also use liquid watercolors)
- Bucket or pan
And that’s really it! You can test out if you prefer water balloons or regular balloons for this activity. That’s really up to personal preference, as well as the age of the kids you work with.
Getting the Water Balloons Ready
Before we jump into the snow painting directions, I do want to touch on the use of food coloring. Just keep in mind that clothes and other items can get stained if you’re not careful.
I suggest wearing play clothes when you’re filling up the water balloons. This way, any splashes or spills are less likely to cause you problems!
Okay, now onto getting the water balloons ready for some snow painting fun!
- First, squirt a few drops of food coloring into a water balloon.
- Then place the balloon over the water faucet spout. Make sure you keep it secure – don’t let go!
- Slowly turn the water on. Again, make sure to keep ahold of the balloon.
- Fill the water balloon about halfway up with water. Do not overfill!
- Turn the water off and gently remove the balloon from the faucet.
- Finally, carefully tie the balloon and set it aside.
Repeat those steps for each of the water balloons you’d like to fill. Be sure to switch up colors! Of course, if you and the kids prefer a monochromatic look, that’s okay too.
Place all of the filled balloons in a pan or a bucket for safe transport outside.
Snow Painting Fun with Water Balloons
Now that you’ve got the water balloons all ready to go, it’s time for some snowy art fun.
Take the bucket of colorful water balloons outside. Before letting the kids get their hands on the balloons, be sure to explain your expectations.
For example, the snow painting water balloons are just for painting the snow. This means the balloons are only thrown at the snow (as opposed to buildings or other people).
Related: Catapult Painting
You’ll also want to show the children how to toss the balloons up and AWAY from themselves. Depending on the ages of your students, you can practice this with some beanbags or balls ahead of time.
Once the children understand what to do, let them play and paint in the snow.
Encourage the children to experiment with different ways to create with the water balloons. What happens when they toss the balloons higher into the air? What about if they throw the balloons farther across the yard? Does the height of the person impact the size/shape of the resulting splat?
You can even break out a step ladder like we did with our (non-snowy) splat art. I’d only suggest doing this if you have a safe place and sturdy surface to set up the ladder.
Observe and assist the children as they’re snow painting with the balloons. You’ll definitely hear a lot of giggles and see some enthusiastic artists. There might be some thoughtful questions and a few, “What if we try this . . .?”
Related: Melting Snowman Science Activity
If you and the kids try this out, be sure to let me know how your snow painting endeavors go!
Clean Up Tips
We can’t touch on a messy art activity without talking cleanup, can we?
Preparation is key of course. So wearing play clothes and teaching the kids to throw the water balloons away from themselves and others is a great place to start.
Once all of the water balloons have been depleted, encourage the kids to go gather the balloon pieces. You don’t want any stray animals to ingest them after the fun is done.
You can definitely make this into a game! “How many pieces can you pick up in 1 minute?” “You find all the pink pieces, and I’ll grab all the green pieces.”
As the snow melts, the water should melt away most of the colorful mess. You can hose things down a bit if you need to, once the weather is a little bit warmer.
More Snow Painting Ideas
If your students loved the water balloon snow painting activity, I bet they’ll get a kick out these ideas, too:
- Make your own snow paint by mixing liquid watercolors or food coloring with water in condiment squeeze bottles. Let the kids draw and write in the snow.
- Pour your snow paint into spray bottles. The kids can spray paint in the snow!
- Use your homemade snow paint to paint creatures built out of snow.
- Break out some cookie cutters and paint for some snow art.
- Incorporate the snow INTO paint for the children to create with.
- Bring the snow inside for some sensory art.
What are some of your favorite snow painting activities?
Done-For-You Preschool Resources
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