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Rain Painting

Sweet Pea is 5 years old.  


From: A couple of years ago, I read about this project in one of MaryAnn Kohl’s fantastic art idea books (either First Art or Preschool Art).   Almost immediately, I bought powdered tempura paint (which is a great low-cost paint option if your family does a lot of painting), but it took a long time for me to coordinate my desire to do this project with the weather required for it (light rain).


  • A lightly raining day.  
  • Jelly roll tray.
  • Several sheets of card stock or very thick paper.
  • A few colors of powdered tempura paint. (The link is to Discount School Supply, but you can probably find it at a local craft store like Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby.)
  • Small bowls to hold the powdered paint.
  • A small spoon.  (A baby spoon would probably work best.)
  • A few rocks or paperweights.


  • Wait for a rainy day.
  • Place the paper in the jelly roll pan.  
  • Place a small amount of each color of powdered tempura paint in its own bowl.
  • Demonstrate scooping a small amount of powder with a spoon and sprinkling it across the paper.
  • Let your tot continue putting powder on the paper until most of it is covered.


  • Carry the tray outside.  (Don’t let your tot do this part unless you want powdered paint all over your floor.
  • Let your tot place some rocks or paperweights on the paper. 
  • Wait until the rain has saturated all of the paint and then bring the jelly roll pans back indoors.  (You may want to set a timer for 5-10 minutes.  The exact time will depend on how hard it is raining, but if you wait too long and it starts pouring, the “paintings” can get destroyed.)
  • Let the paper dry overnight and then and let your tot admire her artwork.

Observations: Sweet Pea had a fun time with this.  She was incredibly eager to see what the rain would do to the paint.


My only reservation about this activity is that it did not take Sweet Pea very long to create her art work.   She was so excited about getting the paper outside that she spooned on the powdered paint as quickly as possible and then begged to go outside immediately.  Although, if we do this activity again, I think she might go slower with it and experiment a bit more.


The paintings turned out very pretty and it was a good opportunity to review color mixing.

I think this would be fun for any age from toddler on up (so long as your tot is old enough to not try to eat the paint).  

Notes from the Trenches: This was a little bit messy, but the jelly roll pan helped keep the paint powder somewhat contained.  However, I think an especially determined child could make quite a mess. 

In retrospect, the paint looked better where the powder had been applied more thinly.  The larger piles of paint powder did not totally dissolve and adhere to the paper.  If we did this again, I would have Sweet Pea use a small baby spoon instead of a regular teaspoon.

It didn’t occur to me that we would need paperweights.  As soon as we set the tray on the ground, the wind picked up one of the pieces of paper and almost flipped it over.    I told Sweet Pea that we needed to get something to hold the paper down and Sweet Pea began a rock hunting expedition.  I think our quest to find the perfect rocks (in the rain!) lasted longer than the painting portion of the activity.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Frugal – Powdered Tempera Paint is very inexpensive, but I am guessing most people don’t have it on hand.)  

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