Back when I used to teach preschool, this was one of my favorite non-messy activities for kids. There are so many great ones that allow them to really dive in and get their hands (and your walls and the floor and your shirt) dirty, but this is a good one when you don’t want to deal with a lot of clean up. All you need for materials is:
- A container that snaps closed (I used a leftover spinach container, but you could really use anything that closes: Tupperware, a shoebox taped shut, etc.)
- Paints (mine are Crayola washable fingerpaints)
- Heavy paper
- A small ball or two (I grabbed one from a toy of his)
First, cut the paper down to fit into the container. Next, squeeze a few different colors onto the paper (if your child is older, you can let him or her do that part.)
Then, add the ball, snap closed and let them shake it as hard as their little heart desires. As the ball rolls around, it will spread the paint and make a really cool looking finished product. You can also add glitter (if you dare) or shaving cream, which makes the paint come out a little puffier when it dries.
My son is, admittedly, a little young for this activity, mostly because it really requires two hands and he’s not standing on his own yet. But, I put it in his sensory table and let him pick it up, smack it around and shake it with one hand and it still came out looking pretty awesome.
I’d say this is really ideal for kids who are already walking, but I’ve also done it with 2 and 3 year olds and they love the chance to really shake something as hard as they can. Add a couple different sized balls for more noise.
This is also a really great activity for a kid with a lot of energy or who needs to get some aggression out if he/she is feeling angry or sad (I’m a big believer in letting them state their feelings and deal with it in a productive, non-violent way.)