Spring Art Project for Toddlers – Styrofoam Meat Trays & Foam Shapes

An easy Spring Art project for toddlers using craft foam pieces and a styrofoam meat tray canvas!

Spring Art Project for Toddlers with styrofoam meat trays - Happy Hooligans

We’re so glad to get back to making spring art and spring crafting!  I want to show you this fun and easy styrofoam art that the hooligans made recently!  It’s a great spring art project for toddlers and preschoolers.  We’re using basic craft supplies and upcycling some styrofoam meat trays that were headed for the trash.

You probably know by now that I love crafting with recyclables.  It’s a great way to save money and to teach kids about the importance of recycling.  Check out some of the beautiful creations we’ve made with things that were headed to the trash – toilet roll owls, tissue paper wreath, fabric scrap cards..  Today we discovered that styrofoam meat trays make a great “canvas” for creating a piece of art.  The edge of the tray kind of serves as a built-in frame.

I always have a stack of these trays on hand.  I run them through the dishwasher first to make sure they’ve been sterilized, and we use them for all kinds of things.  They make handy trays for holding supplies while you’re crafting, they’re fun to “draw” on with a craft stick or the end of a paint brush, and kids love to cut them and snap them into pieces.

For today’s spring art project, I set out some green, yellow and blue paint, and told the Hooligans we were making Spring paintings.  I suggested that they paint the bottom half of their meat tray green, the top half blue, and to use the yellow to add a sun if they wished.

This led to some exciting discoveries when their colours mixed on the trays: “Hey, blue and yellow make green!”

painting styrofoam trays for a spring toddler art project

Then we let the trays dry while we had our snack.  I have to share one of my newest finds with you.  I came across this item at the thrift shop.

ikea cd rack

I paid a dollar for it.  I wasn’t sure what it was (turns out it’s a dvd holder), but I knew what I was going to use it for!

Hello, awesome, space-saving drying rack!!

use a cd rack as a drying tray

When the paint was dry, the Hooligans glued foam flowers, bugs and animals (I lucked out and found those at the thrift shop as well) onto their paintings.

child painting styrofoam produce tray

Here’s a little tip that makes gluing easy for little fingers.  Grab a few plastic coffee stir-sticks when you’re at a coffee shop!  I set some out with a little bowl or pot of glue, and have the kids apply the glue that way.  It’s perfect for adding small amounts of glue to a project, and  the stir-sticks wipe up easily so we can use them again.  This is simpler and less frustrating for little ones to squeeze  a glue bottle, and they don’t end up with way too much glue on their project, which tends to happen when they squeeze from the bottle.  I do realize that is a learning process in itself, and there’s great motor development in the squeezing process.  Most times we do our gluing that way, but sometimes it’s nice to take the easy route. :)

4 children painting styrofoam.

Aren’t they beautiful?colourful spring art for toddlers with styrofoam trays and craft foam

Happy Spring!


  1. says

    I keep saving these styrofaom trays to use to make stuff with and I didnt think of actually using them as a background. Great idea and I love how you found a use for something that seemed useless


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