Painting with Snow – A Winter Art Activity for Preschoolers

Recently I took part in Creative Paint Challenge hosted by Messy Little Monster.  We (a bunch of crafty kid bloggers) were challenged to come up with unusual ways for kids to create with paint.  The activities were to focus on the process rather than an end product, meaning there would not be a preconceived notion of what the finished product would look like.  The activity would be all about the process – the doing, the making, the creating.  For our contribution to the challenge we decided to take advantage of all the snow out there so we bundled up, and headed outside for some fresh air, sunshine and creativity…

painting challenge logo

At the bottom of the post, you can click on a list to see all of the art projects submitted to the challengs.  Ready to see what ours was?

Check it out!  We were painting with snow, using markers, paint brushes and coffee filters.  This simple activity was perfect for the toddlers and preschoolers in my daycare.

Painting with Snow - Happy Hooligans

This outdoor art activity was a great way for the kids to explore colour-mixing and to use snow in a way that they never had before.  We paint ON the snow every winter here in my daycare, but until today, we’d never painted WITH the snow.  The hooligans loved it!  It was fun just getting creative in a care-free way, and the vibrant art the kids produced was a cheery and welcome sight after looking at our stark, white landscape for weeks.

**Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more unique and creative ways to play with snow in winter-time!

For this painting with snow activity, we used:

  • coffee filters
  • washable markers (must be washable so the ink will run when wet)
  • paint brushes
  • SNOW!

We began indoors, by colouring our coffee filters with the markers. This is a great way to test your marker supply see which ones are good and which ones are dried up.

*Do NOT throw out your dried up markers!  You can turn those into these awesome liquid water colour paints.

coffee filter coloured with markers

Scribble all over your coffee filter you have it mostly covered with colour.

Now, bundle up, grab some paintbrushes and your coloured coffee filters, and head out to the yard.

We did our snow painting on the back deck.  It provided a nice firm surface to lay our coffee filters on.

coffee filter and paintbrush covered with snow and marker ink

Plus, it’s a sunny, sheltered spot, so even though the temperatures were cold, the sunshine was warm enough to melt the snow on our coffee filters.  You need some melting to get those colours flowing.

toddlers painting with snow on coffee filters

It was challenging for the hooligans to grasp their paintbrushes with mitts on, but they did it.  Living in a climate that’s cold and snowy 4-5 months of the year can really teach a child tolerance, patience and persistence.  I’m always amazed by the kids’ determination when it comes to getting things done when they’re bundled up from head-to-toe this.  They don’t often get frustrated by how their winter clothing restricts them; they just push on through, and figure out how to get things done.

toddler painting coffee filters with snow

The hooligans dipped their paintbrushes in the snow, and scrubbed and rubbed them over the coloured coffee filters. Although you can’t see their little hands and fingers working, you can bet there’s some great fine motor skill development happening inside those mittens as their little fingers and thumbs work to grip and manipulate their paint brushes.

Soon enough, the marker ink became wet, and the colours started blending together.

snow mixed with marker ink on coffee filter

We really didn’t have an end result in mind for our coffee filters.  This open-ended, winter art activity was all about the process – just experimenting and having fun.

coffee filter coloured with snow and markers

Perhaps we’ll use our coloured coffee filters to make another project like these butterflies or this beautiful spring wreath.

Now, go check out all the other projects in the challenge!  There are dozens of creative painting techniques for you and your kids to try!  .

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