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Drip Painting | A Process Art Activity

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Making art with young children is less about the end product (or what it looks like) and more about the process of doing. In Time to Create: Hands-On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children, Christie Burnett explains that well-chosen process art experiences unlock unlimited potential for learning, communicating, feeling, and expressing. This drip painting activity will allow children to explore and create freely as they gain cognitive, language, fine-motor, and emotional skills. 


  • Child-friendly acrylic paints
  • Water
  • Paint cups
  • Large stretched-canvas painting surface
  • Large disposable plastic tablecloth
  • Masking tape

What to Do

  1. Place one color of acrylic paint into each paint cup, and thin the paint with a little water so that it pours easily.
  2. Choose your painting space carefully. You will need a wall, easel, or something similar to rest the canvas against so that it stands upright. The child should be able to reach the top. Cover the space below with the disposable plastic tablecloth, securing it in place with masking tape. Ensure your drop cloth also allows for any paint that may overflow off the bottom edge of the canvas.
  3. Show the child how to pour the paint from the cup along the top edge of the canvas, watching it run down the smooth surface. Encourage him to pour paint of different colors from the different cups, and discuss which paint drips down the canvas more quickly or more slowly than the others.