Wondering how to paint snow? We’ve got you covered with this fine motor hand strengthening activity. Painting snow is a great winter fine motor activity but also one that builds memories. Use it as a toddler snow activity, a preschool art idea or even painting activities for adults! Painted snow is fun this time of year!
How to Paint Snow
Painting snow using spray bottles is right up the occupational therapy provider’s alley, because using snow as a canvas for creative painting builds essential muscles in the hands. Fine motor skills are a developed by squeezing a spray bottle’s handle to paint the snow.
Let’s cover how to paint snow using a simple squeeze bottle…
You’ll need just a few materials to paint snow:
- Spray bottles
- Food coloring
You could also use diluted paint or watercolor paints.
To make the paint for painting snow:
- Fill the spray bottles half way.
- Squeeze in a few drops of food coloring.
- Put the lid back on the spray bottle.
- Shake the bottle to mix the color and the water.
- Head outside to some fresh snow.
- Start spraying!
The spray bottles came from the dollar store. When I saw the cute colored tops on the bottles, I grabbed up four of them…I can see lots of fun spray play in our future!
Big Sister and Little Guy filled the bottles part way with water and squeezed in some liquid food coloring (also from the dollar store…we seriously use this stuff for SO MANY projects. It lasts forever!!)
The big kids were SO excited to get started! They went right to work on creating a masterpiece on the front lawn. If you do this activity, be sure to keep the nozzle on a stream of water. When it was turned to a spray, the colors did not show up as well in the snow.
Benefits of painting snow
We know the benefits of outdoor play, and even in colder temperatures, playing outside has enormous benefits for sensory needs, self-regulation, gross motor skills, and much more.
There is even a winter mindfulness to this activity. Creative expression is very regulating and calming, and that mindful awareness of squeezing the spray bottle, watching the paint as it changes the snow’s colors, and seeing snow patches in different colors is a very present and mindful activity.
Plus, before you can head outside in cold temperatures, you’ll need to dress for the weather. It’s a great time to practice zippers, snaps, and other self-dressing skills. These tips for supporting sensory kids to dress in winter clothing can be a great resource.
That’s where a painted snow activity like this one comes in. Getting kids outside in the winter can be a challenge, but when you pull in a fun activity like painted snow…you have kids that want to stay out until the paint is gone!
Best of all, you can be sure that painting snow with a bottle like this builds other developmental skills, too.
When painting snow with a spray bottle, several things are happening:
- Fine motor strength to squeeze the spray bottle
- Visual motor skills to aim at a target
- Hand-Eye coordination to squeeze and spray
- Separation of the sides of the hand to squeeze the spray bottle while holding the bottle
- Heavy work (proprioception) through the hands and whole body as the child walks through the snow
- Tactile challenges with different textures in the snow
- Visual processing input seeing a familiar setting in a new light with fresh snow.
Painted Snow Activities
Want to extend the play and develop more skills? Incorporate these painted snow ideas:
- Make a snow maze. Paint directions in the snow or add fun details with the snow paint.
- Work on letter identification and visual discrimination skills using magnets. We show you how to use magnets in snow play in a previous blog post. With colorful paint, this is a great outdoor activity for kids!
- Use the painted snow in a snowball experiment. This is a great winter science activity for kids.
- For more early math, use the painted snow to make snow patterns.
- If it’s too cold outside, bring the winter painting idea inside! Here’s how to paint snow inside using snow painting with watercolors.
- Make a snow kitchen! This is a great activity for young children. Scooping and pouring is a great fine motor workout and you can use that painted snow to make all kinds of fun recipes in a pretend snow restaurant.
- Incorporate our winter sensory stations printables. You can laminate the pages and take them outside in the snow for self-regulation fun. Place snow on the printables and spray it off. Then, wipe clean with more snow.
What if you had themed, NO-PREP activities designed to collect data and can help kids build essential fine motor skills?
Take back your time and start the year off with a bang with these done-for-you fine motor plans to help kids form stronger hands with our Winter Fine Motor Kit. This print-and-go winter fine motor kit includes no-prep fine motor activities to help kids develop functional grasp, dexterity, strength, and endurance. Use fun, winter-themed, fine motor activities so you can help children develop strong fine motor skills in a digital world.
The Winter Fine Motor Kit includes reproducible activity pages include: pencil control strips, scissor skills strips, simple and complex cutting shapes, lacing cards, toothpick precision art, crumble hand strengthening crafts, memory cards, coloring activities, and so much more.