Why Messy Art is Worth It

A few years ago, I invited Emily to splatter paint the driveway with sidewalk chalk paint and she has not stopped talking about it ever since!! It was around that time when I realized the more messy the art project, the more memorable (and FUN) the experience becomes.

So when the girls were feeling particularly inspired after watching a short clip featuring Aelita Andre, a 4 year old painting prodigy — it was without hesitation that I invited them to put on some play clothes and splatter paint to their hearts’ content in the backyard!!

They used inexpensive canvas board, and some very old acrylic paint I had lying around — most of the bottles only had a little bit of paint left in them. But the SMILES!!!!! Oh my goodness!! And this kept them happily entertained for HOURS!

Here is one of Emily’s finished “masterpieces”, comprised of two separate canvases pushed together….


What I found particularly interesting was that both of the girls had access to the exact same materials at the exact same time, but they each already seem to have their own “style” of painting. Emily consistently chose bright colors and LOTS of them!!


She also preferred to paint directly from the bottle, after carefully painting the entire canvas a bright blue background color.


There was lots of walking and running around each canvas board!


She also wanted to experiment with adding bits of colored tissue paper to her paintings, which made for some interesting texture!


Clara, on the other hand, became mesmerized in a world of black and white! She carefully painted each of her canvas boards entirely in black (with a little help from Emily), then added white, grey, silver, and more black paint. I love the look of her concentration!!


She seem to like applying the paint directly from the bottle first, then spreading it with her fingers or a paint brush, swirling the paint around in interesting patterns!


Not only did the girls have a GREAT time making these paintings, but now we have some awesome pieces to hang up and display in our home!!

When they were done, it was bath time, and I WISH you could have heard them chattering on and on about how much FUN they had!!!!


  1. Dear Valerie,

    You should get the cats involved next time.


  2. Also, please encourage the girls to paint with green so that the lawn looks oh-so-lush.


  3. I love both their masterpieces! What fun!

    Messy art is the best!!!

  4. Fantastic activity & the canvases look great!:) We did something similar with recycled art materials & a canvas! And my 3yr old painted herself blue… as you do! 😉 http://sunhatswellieboots.blogspot.com/2011/06/art-inspired-by-music.html

  5. I have had a canvas ready for 2 days to do this activity – but alas the rainy wet weather is fighting against us! Hopefully tomorrow! It ‘s the last day of school for most of my kids – but if I have a break during summer camp we will be doing this – so cool!
    I love how yours turned out!
    I want to link this on my blog and facebook if that’s OK?

    • It is SO much FUN!!

      And a big thank you for linking on your blog & facebook! 🙂

  6. Oh my favorite kind of art – BIG art! Messy is always good too! I really gotta do some canvas art so we have some beautiful pieces for the home too! LOVE LOVE!

  7. My pea did this at art camp and they added surprises like rubberbands and paperclips bc as he told me ” sometimes stuff would fall out of Jackson Pollocks pockets and he’d leave it there!”. Too cool!

  8. A favorite of mine is painting trike tires with squeeze bottles and letting the kids ride circles on butcher paper. I use primaries and they love to see the colors mix together. It’s a mess for sure. But when they’re done, you’re left with an amazing mural. When the kids finish with that, we have a bike wash for awhile.

  9. The link you shared is amazing, but your girl will give Aelita a run for her money 🙂 How interesting that they chose very different color schemes!

  10. Ooooh! School holidays start in two weeks – this is a must to add to the “to do” list!

  11. Wow! That distinct style both girls have.

    This sounds like a great project over here in our little corner of the world.

    Thanks so much for your tips, trick and ideas!!

  12. Messy is absolutely neccessary for so many projects….. Love it!

  13. I love it!!!
    Sometimes, I just don’t want to think about the mess, but with the nice weather and a toddler who is comfortable running around in his underwear, I have no excuses. We just did some chalk painting on Father’s Day and had a great time! (I was the one who got the messiest, too!)

  14. I couldn’t agree more!

    One of these days I want to buy a cheap canvas drop cloth at the hardware store and string it on our clothesline for painting. Maybe even with tennis balls dipped in paint.

  15. LOVE this idea, not only do you get to let the creative juices flow, you get some great art for the home. What a confidence booster for your girls…once Monkey gets old enough to not eat the paint will have to try this.

    I was thinking of doing something this week with little one to paint fireworks some maybe with a water bomb??? will figure it out later.

  16. Valerie! I was also inspired by that video. Oh, what I’d give to have a space like that. I was just talking with my husband about clearing some room in our garage so we can go wild with paint. Now for the hard work of making room.

  17. Love !! We were going to paint outside today but the weather is crazy. Hoping to get out tomorrow.

  18. It’s messy art day here! We did splatter painting the other day, so I think today we’re going to do the ever-popular sidewalk painting (cornstarch and water).

    Thanks for sharing the girls’ artwork 🙂


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