105 Creative Painting Ideas

This list of 105 creative painting ideas is a fun way to build skills through creative art. We’ve pulled together creative painting to support child development through creation play! Whether you are looking for painting ideas for toddlers, preschoolers, for the classroom, or for the occupational therapy clinic, these creative paint activities will get your brain ticking with ideas to support creative expression, emotions, sensory play, fine motor skills, and more! 

Add these ideas to your list of occupational therapy crafts that build skills.

Creative painting

Creative Painting

In Occupational Therapy interventions, OTs and OTAs love to support their clients through creative outlets, specifically those that are meaningful to the client. For some children, art and painting is just that: a tool that inspires movement, sensory challenges, visual motor integration, crossing midline and more. OTs can use creative painting as a motivating strategy to develop skills…and maybe add in a bit of creative expression at the same time! Some of these are sensory paint ideas but most involve problem solving and creativity expression through creative paint!

Why Use Creative Painting?

Creative painting with clients develops skills. When painting in creative ways, you’ll see movement and sensory experiences that they typical canvas and brush don’t allow:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Crossing midline
  • Problem solving
  • Executive functioning skills
  • Motor planning
  • Tactile exploration
  • Sensory experiences
  • Bilateral coordination
  • MORE!

Creative Painting materials

The ideas listed below will get your creative juices flowing for your next paint project. Kids love when a creative painting idea is presented to them because it’s a bit of the unexpected! Out-of the box thinking when it comes to painting ideas is part of the magic.

Gather some of these materials for your next painting adventure:

  • Paints– tin of watercolors, washable paints, acrylics, finger-paints, etc.
  • Painting surfaces– canvas, cardboard box, paper, newspaper, paper towel, clothing, paper plates, styrofoam, bubble wrap, piece of paper, watercolor paper, etc.
  • Sensory mediums to mix paint into– shaving cream, sand, salt, dough, bubbles, etc.
  • Tools to paint with– brushes, paintbrushes, rolling pin, flowers, feathers, forks, ice, crayons, cotton swabs, pencils erasers, etc. You can even go on a nature walk to gather items to use to paint with.

This list is just a starting point…the creative ways to paint is literally in your imagination. Take these ideas and run with them to make your next creative painting masterpiece.

The Mess of Creative Painting

It can be common to immediately think about the mess involved with all of this creative art making, however there is therapeutic benefit as well, and focusing on those aspects can help with the mess issue.

Plus, the clean up portion of painting is a great time to work on those OT self-care goals that aren’t some of the more fun parts of childhood: 

  • hand washing – a paint activity is great motivation for washing little hands!
  • cleaning the body
  • scrubbing hard enough to remove the paint
  • cleaning up one’s surroundings
  • wiping down a table
  • cleaning out a sink
  • washing paintbrushes
  • drying a table

Creative Painting Ideas

There are so many fun ways to explore color, texture, and creativity through paints listed here. We can not wait to try them ALL!   There is just something about painting that is relaxing and satisfying…

  1.  Textured Paint Sensory Play
  2. Paint with Bottle Caps
  3. DIY Shape Stamps 
  4. Paint with kitchen utensils
  5. Paint with feathers
  6. Paint cardboard boxes
  7. Painting Bubble Wrap
  8. Feather Flower Craft
  9. Paint snow
  10.  Paint snow painting with watercolors
  11. Paint with flowers
  12. Stamped Art Flower
  13. Noodle Garland
  14. Goop Painting
  15. Paint with water on a sidewalk or driveway
  16. Gift Bow Stamp Art
  17. Painting With Yarn
  18. Paint a shower stall or bathtub using bath paints
  19. Paint a driveway with liquid chalk paint
  20. Concentric Circles Stamp Art
  21. Sparkle Collage Art
  22. Creative Painting Art Ideas
  23. Concentric Circles Stamp Art
  24. Paint your body with body paints
  25. Sparkle Collage Art 
  26.  Creative Painting Art Ideas 
  27.  Monster Cupcake Liner Craft
  28. Paint your hair with hair chalk (watered down hair chalk works best for this)
  29. Paint an old egg carton
  30. Baking Soda Paints 
  31. Painting With Pinwheels
  32. Fireworks Art
  33. Paper Roll Apple Stamps
  34. Paint a brick wall with the hose
  35. Paper Roll Turkey Stamp Art
  36. Paper Roll Pumpkin Stamps
  37.    Glitter Paint Snowman Craft
  38. Paint newspaper
  39. Snowflake Stamp Art
  40. Fine Motor Sparkle Craft
  41. Paint with a comb and hairbrush
  42. Noodle Garland
  43. Goop Painting
  44. Shamrock Thumbprint Art
  45. Feather Flower Craft
  46. Stamped Art Flower
  47. Make Your Own Textured Paint
  48. Make Your Own Colored Sand
  49. Stamp Roll Painting
  50. Clay Rocks Outdoor Decoration Craft
  51. 3D Drip Paint
  52. Make flour paint
  53. Mix baking soda and food coloring and then add vinegar for science art
  54. Paint toilet paper rolls
  55. Paint paper towels
  56. Paint toilet paper
  57. Paint recycled materials
  58. Scrape painting on a canvas
  59. Ice painting with ice cubes
  60. Fingerpainting with watercolours
  61. Make a paint pendulum with an erector set or tinker toys
  62. Preschool Paint Decorating from From ABCs to ACTs
  63. Painting with Trains from Where Imagination Grows
  64. Number Painting Boards from Left Brain Craft Brain
  65. Color Theory Activity from Gift of Curiosity
  66. Paint with Carrots from Stir the Wonder
  67. Paint pumpkins
  68. Paint rocks
  69. Paint sticks
  70. Paint using a cotton ball in a clothes pin
  71. Paint with toothpicks
  72. Paint with a plastic fork
  73. Paint a paper plate
  74. Paint on a window with soap paint
  75. Paint bark on a tree
  76. Paint with dirt paint (painting outdoors is a good idea with this one! And keep the hose handy!)
  77. Paint on styrofoam for beaded paint
  78. Paint with a turkey baster
  79. Pour paint to work on bilateral coordination
  80. Paint with string
  81. Paint with tweezers holding a craft pom pom
  82. Paint using a rolling pin
  83. Paint with homemade water colors
  84. Paint wooden crafts using acrylic paints
  85. Paint on a swing
  86. Paint with your body
  87. Paint a ball and roll it on paper
  88. Paint on Easter eggs
  89. Paint on coffee filters
  90. Mix up marbled milk paint
  91. Make homemade puffy paint
  92. Paint sand
  93. Paint on an easel or vertical surface
  94. Face paint on a baby doll
  95. Paint your hand and make handprint art
  96. Paint with a potato
  97. Paint with magnets by moving one magnet under a box and the other magnet moving through paint on the inside of a box
  98. Paint on large paper using a broom
  99. Paint a cardboard box using a paint roller
  100. Paint DIY cardboard bricks
  101. Paint with cotton swabs (Qtips)- Here is a cotton swab painting activity for Spring
  102. Paint a rubber duck
  103. Paint inside a plastic baggie
  104. Make 3D drip paint
  105. Paint on a train table or water table

These creative painting ideas are fun crafts to build skills through fantastic fun! Which self-expression activity are you going to choose first? 



Check out these great ideas for creative ways for kids to paint!






40. Pour Painting with Pixie Stix from Fantastic Fun and Learning
41. Outdoor Window Painting from Simple Fun for Kids






Some of our favorite ways to paint from past blog posts:









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