Some of the art activities here on Babble Dabble Do take me weeks, if not months, to develop, and then there are those that take minutes, literally. Today’s art activity for kids, Styrofoam Patterns, was one of those 5 minute projects and I hope your kids will enjoy it as much as mine did!
Art activities for kids do not have to take much planning if you use objects you already have around your home in a creative way. Typically I save Styrofoam trays for use under an art project or as a paint tray, but in this case we used them for make the art itself! Please note that you need trays with patterned, embossed bottoms.
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Art Activities for Kids: Styrofoam Patterns
- Watercolors– these are the type I use and you will be happy you tried them!
- Lids or small containers to hold the paint
- Eye Droppers
- White Styrofoam trays with patterned bottoms, clean of course!
- Q-tips/cotton balls
- Step One Mix your watercolors with water.
- Step Two Start the activity by using an eyedropper to suck up a small amount of one color.
- Step Three Gently squeeze a small drop of watercolor into one of the pattern sections on your Styrofoam tray. Repeat this in different spots around the tray. If you squeeze out too much color, use q-tips or cotton balls to gently absorb excess watercolor.
- Step Four Use additional colors to create patterns around the tray.
You’re done! I consider this more of an art activity than an art project because the result is pretty ephemeral. You can let the watercolors evaporate and dry on the Styrofoam tray but the color doesn’t hold up. I personally loved the idea of reusing these trays over and over again by dumping the color, rinsing, and repeating.
- You can limit the palette to primary colors and use this as a color mixing activity or simply create a palette of basic colors.
- Use a different eyedropper for each color to help keep the colors pure.
- If you child is able to handle delicate tasks, ask them to gently tilt the tray and watch the watercolors bleed into the sections adjacent to them or, if using a grid, down an entire row of indentations.
- Do not use black or yellow Styrofoam trays, the effects of color will be lost.
And because we all enjoy “behind the scenes” moments, here is a sneak peek into the job hazards of mom blogging, babies trying to get in on the action! While photographing my kids doing this activity I ran interference trying to keep my 15 month old from grabbing the paint, trays, eye droppers, you name it! Finally when my older kids were finished Leon went to town.
Chuck Close. Chuck Close is my husband’s favorite artist. What is stunning about his work is that many of his larger than life portraits are actually made up of a tiny grid of color patterns. Stand 20 feet away from the finished painting and you see a detailed portrait, stand up close and you see a miniature grid of shape and color. The same principle of pixelazation is used for digital artwork and photos. All digital images are made up of miniscule dots of color that when seen from afar make a coherent, sharp image but when magnified are simply a gird of different colored squares. Though our art tray grids are too spaced out to create this effect, the concept of using a grid to create pattern of color is similar.
Pair kitchen supplies with my mission to save all Styrofoam trays for re-use in art projects and you have this little kitchen art project! I love seeing texture and pattern in everyday objects in a new light. Styrofoam Patterns might just encourage your child to see things a little differently too!
Summer is here and I know you are looking for more east art activities! Check out a few here on Babble Dabble Do: