I’ll admit it, I’m pretty blessed. I work with amazing colleagues, kiddos, and families. I get to teach in a way that aligns with my educational philosophy, and I get to do super fun activities with the kiddos. Like this amazingly fun summer art project that we set up during one of last year’s summer camps.
Simply put, we let the kids paint a car. Yes, we did!
Be sure to pop over to my SUMMER FUN Pinterest board for more ideas!
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Incredibly Fun Summer Art Project
Ms. Smarty Pants, my amazing summer co-teacher, was excited to tell me that her friend suggested this activity.
In fact, he’s even the one who “donated” his car to be painted! Just had to share that, in case you were wondering where the random car came from! 😉
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Materials we used
I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Washable tempera paint
One white car
Lots of eager kiddos
What the kids did during our summer art project
As you can probably guess, they painted. And painted. And painted some more!
The kids worked together to paint flowers, paint their names, and create colorful collages on the car. They painted their hands, then made hand prints all along the car.
They mixed colors together to make new colors. And so much more!
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I had an absolute blast watching the kids as they painted the car. They were SO excited to be doing something completely different.
Giggles and laughter abounded! The children spent over an hour engaged in this creative fun.
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I found it highly entertaining that they started painting themselves and each other, too! They were in their swimsuits, the paint was washable, and we had a hose nearby. So it was all good!
By the end of it, one of the girls looked like she was the star of the book I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!
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An Important Step – The Clean Up!
Once everyone was happy with the finished products of painted kiddos and a painted car, it was time to clean up. I took a ton of pictures so we could immortalize their artwork before we cleaned up, of course!
We grabbed buckets of water, soap, and some sponges. The kids had tons of fun cleaning the car (and each other)!
I love it when the clean up is just as fun as the activity itself.
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In case you’re wondering, almost all of the paint came off the car very easily. We did notice that the purple paint left behind a slight residue the first year.
We’ve done this multiple years in a row now, and we have decided to stay away from the red-based paints just to be safe (so no purple or red, for example).
If you decide to do something like this, be sure to test the paint out beforehand!
If you’re concerned about the use of paint, consider using homemade liquid chalk paint instead.
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All in all, this was an awesomely fun summer art project for the kids! It’s been a year, and the teachers and kids STILL talk about that day.
What fun, over-the-top and art have you and the kids tried recently? Any other fun art project for kids that you’d recommend for us this summer?
A Frequently Asked Question
Some readers have asked about how we kept the kiddos from doing this to other cars. Here’s what I told them:
We did this last year at summer camp, and not a single one of those kiddos went on to paint (or write or draw) on a car! I promise! We stressed that this was a “super duper, oh-so special activity” that could only be done on this one car.
We pointed to other cars and ask, “Do we paint on this one?” and the kids responded with a loud, “NO!” We asked about parents’ cars and cars in parking lots (we added lots of humor) and they all said no with us.
The kiddos were ages 3 to 6, so I think they were all old enough to understand what we meant! It was a SERIOUSLY FUN activity, perfect for an old car!
Preschool Summer Lesson Plans
If you’re running a preschool summer camp, check out some of these already done-for-you lesson plans (of course, they’d be great during the regular school year too):
Looks like some messy fun was had by all! I can just imagine what my neighbors would think if they saw us painting the car, lol!
Georgina @ Craftulate says
Amazing activity! I bet they loved it!
Heather G. @ Golden Reflections Blog says
Seriously, how fun!! I’m sure all kids would LOVE to do this. Now to convince my husband to let us use his white truck, haha! 😉
D Platt says
How generous of him to donate his car for this purpose! What kind of paint did you use to ensure it came off the car cleanly? I bet the kids had a blast–there’s something about painting somewhere you’re normally not supposed to paint that is so fun! You said that you immortalized the experience with pictures–a great idea considering how special this activity is. With Keepy you can save such memories AND add video commentary! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2utE5WJ-LG8
Wonderful idea! Just wondering – do you think it’s possible to do this with a different coloured car? I have a red car (and am in desperate need for a new car, so I have no emotional attachment to it, lol) and my child would have an absolute blast doing this. I can imagine that white would be easier for obvious reasons, but how much of a problem do you think it would be with a darker red car?
I just stumbled upon your website today in preparation for my daughter’s third birthday and I am loving all the innovative and educational ideas here! Thank you!
Mary Catherine says
Thanks so much for the kind words, Bry! 🙂 We used a white car because that’s what was donated to us – and, obviously, it shows all of the colors off very well. I bet a red car would work too, especially if you can use lighter colors on it. I imagine white would show up really well. If you do try this, I REALLY hope you share pictures with me (maybe on my FB page)? I think it is awesome that you’re considering it. The children had way too much fun, and they still talk about it!!!! 🙂
Just an FYI, I tried this with my grandchildren on 8/18/17 with “washable” tempera paint made by Horizon and the pink color stained the paint on my car 🙁
Mary Catherine says
Well that stinks! 🙁 That’s why I recommended testing a spot on the car ahead of time. I’ll go back soon to make a note that Horizon paint isn’t so suitable (we only used Discount School Supply).
Leslie Renaker says
What kind of paint did you use?what is the brand name?
Mary Catherine says
We used washable tempera paint from Discount School Supply – their Colorations line. But I have to stress that you need to spot test the paint before you let the kids at it. 🙂 The red and purple paint was much harder to clean off the car we used (we used the same car over multiple years, as it was donated for summer camp art).
I have Crayola Washable tempra paint. Hoping to decorate for our Class of 2020 graduate. There is a car parade for them at their school. Do you think green and orange paint should be okay?
Mary Catherine says
I definitely suggest doing a small spot check first. We did this with an old car a friend shared (he didn’t care if anything happened to it). We only ran into some issues with any paint that contained red.
Hector Muniz says
I tried the black CRAYOLA washable paint on my white truck to make zebra stripes for a graduation car parade and the paint came off quite easily but left a light purple stain on the car.
Mary Catherine says
Thanks for checking in to share what happened with your paint! Definitely why we need to do a spot check beforehand. I hope the graduation car parade went well!