Marble Painting

  • containers
  • marbles
  • paint
  • shallow box (with lid; about the size of the paper) 
  • spoons
  • unlined paper
  • color
  • mix
  • paint
  • roll
  • shake
  • tilt
Head Start Outcomes:

Science Knowledge/Scientific Skills and Method: Uses senses and tools, including technology, to gather information, investigate materials, and observe processes and relationships.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

Science and Technology/Inquiry Skills 1: Ask and seek out answers to questions about objects and events with the assistance of interested adults.

Marble Painting

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

Skill Focus: Color Recognition, Creative Expression, Speaking and Listening, Vocabulary

Fill three containers with different paint colors. Add a marble and a spoon to each container.

Next, put a piece of paper in the bottom of a shallow box. Tell children you are going to show them how to make a marble painting. Say,

  • I am going to start with the color green. I’ll scoop the marble out of the green container and place it in the box.
  • Place a lid on the box so you can let children shake the marble gently. Have them tilt the box in several different directions so the marble rolls around, making an erratic line of paint.

When the marble runs out of color, put it back in the green paint container and repeat the process with a marble in another color.

  • Show the design the marble makes as it rolls around.
  • Ask children to explain what happens when the lines of paint cross.
  • Help them to see that, where the tracks cross, the colors mix. Say, What happens when the colors mix together?

Then, invite children to make their own marble paintings. Ask children to name the different colors in their finished paintings. Help them write their names on their artwork.

Adaptation: For very young children, you may want to use golf balls to avoid having young children put marbles in their mouths. 

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