Painting with blocks is a fun process art idea for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and elementary-aged kids!
This fun block art painting idea popped into my head as my daughter was playing with her building blocks one day. I was inspired by the idea of painting with blocks in the same way that one would build with them. In other words, I thought it would be fun to build a Tetris-inspired painting by stamping foam counting blocks first into the paint, and then onto art paper.
But of course, my daughter reminded me that art is more about the process than the product as she did her own thing with the blocks and worked on her block painting in her own way. She showed me how a real artist works as she built, dotted, swirled, and pushed the paint around on the paper in many different ways. Thanks for the reminder little girl, you’re amazing!
Block Stamping Process Art: My Daughter at Work Exploring Art Materials
As my daughter painted, I witnessed her explore several different ways of working with the paint and the blocks to create art. It was super inspiring to watch and she reminded me of an important fact.
Most adults can be so boring in their artistic interpretations, while toddlers are so much more in touch with the process and wonder of making art. So let’s not ruin it for children by telling them that their art needs to look or be a certain way.
My daughter was quick to show me that this process art project is about learning how to use art materials, and exploring how they work, not creating something perfect. Thanks for the reminder little one, you rock!
Block art Stamping
So do your best to get out of the way to allow your children to stamp the blocks and build the painting however they like no matter how hard it may seem. In other words, let them paint with the blocks in their own way, using their own process, even if they just swirl it all together and make a big mess.
First I glued a few foam blocks together in a few different Tetris-inspired shapes. But of course, wooden blocks could also be used for the same purpose. The idea was to build a painting using these blocks like you would build blocks placing one on top of the other.
My daughter ended up creating two block paintings, while I only painted one. See how limiting my thinking was? Even so, I enjoyed playing Tetris with my block art, while she enjoyed stamping, playing, and swirling to her heart’s content without building a single painting the way I thought she might.
Block Painting Art Supplies:
- Tempura paints – Non-Toxic Washable Tempera Paint Set
- Foam counting blocks – Soft Color Cubes
- Waterproof craft glue – The Ultimate Glue
- Painting paper – Artist Paper Pad
- Paper plate, art paper, or poster paper to put paint and blocks on as a pallet – Giant Floor Pad
- Painters tape – Painters Masking Tape
How to Build a Painting with Foam Blocks
Follow the steps below to create block-stamping printmaking art at home or in the classroom.
1. Glue blocks together in various shapes (optional).
Glue the foam counting blocks or wooden blocks together in various shapes, or leave them as they are. Here are a few different optional ways to glue them together:
- Make one shape for each paint color you will be using by gluing the blocks together to make each shape.
- You can see the shapes we made in the photograph in step 2 below. We used 7 colors and made the same number of shapes, but you are welcome to stamp blocks however you like. Here’s how we did it:
- Yellow = 2 squares glued together
- Orange = 4 squares glued together in a straight line
- Red = ‘S’ like Tetris-inspired shape
- Hot Pink = single cube
- Green = 4 cubes glued together to make a square
- Blue = 3 cubes glued together in a straight line
- Purple = 6 cubes glued together to make a rectangle
- Give the glue time to dry before painting with them.
2. Prepare to Paint with Blocks
- First, put the paints you will be working with on a paper plate or a large piece of poster or art paper.
- Next, tape the paper down with painter’s tape so it doesn’t move around as shown in the photograph below.
- And finally, put one block on each spot of paint.
3. Invite kids to stamp or build a painting however they like.
- First, tape a piece of painting paper onto the surface you will be working on.
- Next, demonstrate how to stamp a block into paint and then onto paper to create a block print before asking children to give it a try. (Children learn best by watching and imitating others.)
- Invite children to pick up the block they want to use and stamp it onto the paper.
- Replace it when done and grab another block, or continue to create block art stamps and prints with the same block.
Painting with Foam Blocks Art Idea for Kids
Painting with foam blocks is an easy and fun activity to do with kids. You can either build a painting as you would build with blocks or do process art. My daughter did both. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Painting with foam blocks is one of 101 painting ideas being shared at ‘Emma Owl’ this month as part of their Paint-A-Thon. Or give the art projects and painting ideas on the list below a try.
Learn more about–>Rhythms of Play.