Pretend Paint Pallet – Terrific Activity for an Art Party

Got a little Van Gogh at your house?  A simple pretend paint pallet is great pretend play idea for toddlers and preschoolers.  Super-fun for indoors or out, and a bunch of these would make for a terrific activity at a child’s art-themed birthday party!

pretend paint pallet - happy hooligans

Kids LOVE to paint, don’t they?  What I always find funny is that young children don’t even require actual PAINT to have fun .  Hand them a paintbrush, and they love to PRETEND to paint.  That’s where these pretend play paint pallets are perfect!  No-mess painting, and an opportunity for imaginations and creativity to flourish!  Win-win!

I was inspired to make these last weekend, when I was looking an old set of kids’ watercolours that we have.  The paints came in a black plastic pallet which is now pretty much empty, and I was thinking that if I cleaned the pallet right out and washed it up, it would make for some fun pretend-painting.

pretend paint pallet for imaginary play

Then I had a “light-bulb moment”, and decided it might be better to make several pretend paint pallets, any the Hooligans could paint together, each holding their own pallet.

acrylic paints and cardboard for pretend paint pallet

How to make a pretend paint pallet:

  1. I traced my plastic paint pallet on some medium weight cardboard.
  2. I used the bottom of a small spice jar to trace 8 circles on each pallet.
  3. With acrylic craft paint, I filled in the circles.

painting the garden with pretend paint pallets pretend play with cardboard paint pallets

You could use markers to colour the “paints” on your pallet, but I wanted our pretend paint to look like oil paint, so I actually went with some old, thick and goopy colours that I knew were pretty much ready for the trash.  I plopped the paint into the circles and swirled it around, using a paint brush to muck it around and “lift” the paint up a bit to give it a puffy look.

imaginary play in the yard with pretend paint palletusing pretend paint pallet to paint the trees

Then I set the pallets out on the deck for the afternoon to dry in the sun.  Today, I presented them to the Hooligans.

They LOVED this pretend play activity!  They ran all about the yard painting trees, and toys,  dipping their paintbrushes into their pretend paint, and announcing the colour that they were using.

painting toys with pretend paint pallets

The painted solo and they painted together.


Don’t you love an easy, inexpensive idea that provides so much fun!

UPDATE:  It’s been 2.5 years since I made our pretend play paint pallets and they’re still played with almost every single day!

This was definitely a “keeper” of an activity!

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Yours in play, Jackie from Happy Hooligans

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