If you’re looking for a fun backyard activity for the kids to do this summer, try this outdoor art idea! Painting on a mirror is calming and relaxing, and a wonderful way for kids to experiment with art in an outdoor setting.
We have a framed mirror that hangs in the dress-up area of our playroom. I picked it up at a thrift shop a few years ago. It was so worth the couple of bucks I spent on it because it’s so much more than just a dress-up mirror. We often take it off the wall and place it on a table and use it as a reflective table for art and sensory activities.
One of the most popular activities among my preschoolers is the one I’m sharing with you today: painting on our mirror outdoors in the backyard.
Painting on a mirrored surface is very relaxing, and therapeutic. And the children love to see their own hands and faces reflected in the mirror as they work.
It’s also really interesting for them to see the reflection of the trees, the sky and the clouds above them underneath them as they paint. And what’s really cool, is that reflection constantly changes as the children move around, as the tree branches sway in the wind, and as the clouds go over.
If you have a mirror similar to ours, I would highly recommend trying an outdoor art project like this one. If you don’t have a large mirror for the kids to paint on as a group, you can pick up a few mirrored tiles like we’ve used here at the dollar store or a home improvement store.
What kind of paint is best for painting on a mirror?
Normally, for our art activities we use acrylic craft paint, but when we’re painting on a mirror, we opt for tempera paint because it washes off so easily.
Your kids can also use fingerpaints, washable gel paints, gel crayons and even shaving cream (leave it white, or colour it). As long as you’re using a medium that’s washable, you’ll have no regrets.
Setting up our outdoor mirrored art station:
We have a thrift shop coffee table that we use as an activity table in our backyard, so that’s what I place the mirror on for this activity. Any raised surface that the kids can stand or kneel around will do. I would hesitate to place the mirror on the ground just in case someone were to accidentally step on it and shatter it.
I place our bowls of paint right on top of the mirror, and I provide the kids with a variety of brushes in different styles and sizes.
Don’t limit yourself to artist’s brushes. Kids can experiment with lots of different tools.
Some suggested tools for making mirror art:
- sponge brushes
- mini paint rollers
- fluffy make-up brushes
- dry erase markers
- gel crayons
The best location for your mirrored art table:
I find the best place to set our mirror is under the canopy of our big maple tree, and we always do this activity early in the day before the sun gets too high in the sky. That way, we don’t have to worry about the sun reflecting into our eyes as we paint.
Of course, on a cloudy, overcast day, you can set up wherever you’d like, even at mid-day.
The kids love the way their paintbrushes glide across the surface of the mirror, and using a large mirror like this gives them the opportunity to make big, full-armed swooshes as they paint.
They have a great time mixing the colours and layering them up, and you can see here that one hooligan discovered she could make scratches in the paint with her paintbrush handle after the paint had dried. Great discovery!
Keep a big bowl of water nearby for rinsing brushes, and make sure the kids wear old clothing or craft aprons.
Next on our agenda is to set our mirror upright and use it as a vertical art station.
Stay tuned. I’ll share those photos with you as soon as we try it.
For more terrific art ideas for kids check out:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.