Snow painting is a fun outdoor winter art activity that kids of all ages will enjoy. Aside from a yard full of snow, the only supplies you need to paint the snow are some tempera paints and paint brushes.
I’m sure you’ve heard of others painting the snow with spray bottles and food colouring. Maybe you’ve even seen our indoor activity where we’ve coloured the snow with liquid watercolours.
We’ve tried painting the snow with squirt bottles before, but but soggy mitts and frozen fingers aren’t a great combo, and maybe I’ve just been skimpy with the food colouring, but we have to pump the trigger a bazillion times to get a decent amount of colour onto the snow.
So today I decided to try something new! We actually painted the snow with real paint!
Check it out! What a fun way for kids to get creative in the snow on a sunny winter day!
When I got the idea for the kids to paint the snow, I had no idea how, or even IF, it would work.
I was thrilled when it was an instant success, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Are you ready to really and truly paint the snow?
How to paint the snow:
For this snow painting activity, you’ll just need two things – paint and paint brushes.
I used tempera paint powder to mix up 5 colours of paint. You could use tempera liquid paints, or any kind of paint really. I chose our tempera paints because they’re washable; I didn’t want any staining on the snow-pants and winter coats.
I drew 3 rectangles in the snow to serve as canvases for the hooligans, and called the kids over. Alternatively, you could make frames for your snow art by laying 4 twigs in the snow.
You can probably imagine how excited they were to get started. Meanwhile, I was crossing my fingers, hoping for half-decent results.
Oh my goodness!
This was SUCH a cool activity! The snow was soft but kind of crunchy on top, and it absorbed the paint beautifully! I really hadn’t imagined that this would be so awesome.
I tried my hand at some snow painting, and was surprised by how light of a touch was needed to keep the paint on the surface of the snow.
The kids had already mastered the technique, and they moved all around the yard and garden adding splashes of colour wherever they went.
They experimented with splatter painting the snow,
and they painted the bootprints that we’d made while walking around the yard.
They formed snowballs, and painted those snowballs different colours.
They also found a small mound of snow in the yard, and they collaborated to create a “candy mountain”, painting the snow in all different colours.
Our snow painting activity kept the kids entertained and having fun for over an hour.
It was a wonderful way to get creative in the snow, and I suspect that painting the snow will become a regular winter activity around here!
I hope you get a chance to do this with your kids this winter! Check out the links below for more ways to have fun with the snow this winter.
Fun Outdoor Winter Activities for Kids:
Snowy “Diamond Dig” – a snow sensory bin
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. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
I keep forgetting to buy spray bottles for snow painting, now we don’t even have to go to the store! Thanks for the inspiration- now all we need is more snow!
Lynne Midgley Levesque
Fun!!!!!!!! What happens when the snow melts??? Where does the paint go?
Our snow is gone already, Lynne, and we now have lovely, colourful patches of grass where the painted snow was. 🙂 It was washable, non-toxic kids’ paint so it will likely was away with the first rain.
It makes me nervous with the little ones especially after the snow starts meting. I am scared they would walk through it and get the paint everywhere.
Aw heck, don’t let a little paint scare you, Sue. Think of the mud and muck they tromp through when the snow starts to melt!
Perfect! This really is so much easier than the spray bottles anyway. I found it far more colourful and fun. 🙂
New Pre-k Teacher
Does this stain the students coats mitts or ski pants?
If you use a paint that is washable, it shouldn’t. That’s why we used Tempera paint. It washes right out. If you were to use any other type of paint, you would want to know before hand if it can be washed out of fabric once it sets in.
New Pre-k Teacher
Wow. Thanks for your quick response. Id hate to send my little ones back home with stained and expensive winter clothes.
No problem! And I hear you. I don’t worry too much about paint and staining on their every day clothes, because my parents know we get messy, and don’t send their children in anything that can’t take a stain or two, but when it came to their jackets and snow pants, I didn’t want to risk the possibility of staining so we went with the Tempera.
Such a cute idea! I’ll be trying this with my LO when we get our next snow!
Hope you get some snow soon, Jessica! Ours has all melted now, and I can’t wait to get more. This was a really fun activity!
Joyce @Childhood Beckons
That looks like so much fun! And it’s gorgeous!
New Pre-k Teacher
I tried out this idea. I think the consistency of the paint is important or perhaps the state of the snow. Our snow was not melting as it appears in the pictures but was somewhat packed down. The snow stuck to the paintbrushes which made it impossible for even
myself to paint a line. Also I anticipated
messy hands or clothes so I brought wet
wipes. What a lifesaver!
Our paints were very “wet”, as you might be able to see in the photo of the paint dripping onto the blue snowball. We used tempera powders which can be mixed to the consistency that you like. Were your paints quite thick? I’m thinking that if they were, that might be what the problem was when you tried it. If they were water-based paints could you try diluting them a bit if you were going to try this again?
This didn’t work that well for me. I did this activity yesterday and the snow also stuck to the brush. It was frustrating. What are your suggestions for it to work better?
Sounds like your snow was too light and fluffy. A crusty snow works best, or at least a packing snow that has quite a bit of moisture in it. It does require a light touch, but I think the biggest problem was your snow was too fluffy.
Aleacia @ Dilly-Dali Art
I loved this idea when you first posted it and I still love it! Beautiful!
This is such a fun activity for kids & big people too. I love tempera powder paint mixture to paint the snow. Ty for sharing this awesome activity. The kidlets are so into the activity. 🙂
Will have to try this great idea. Another idea along the idea of spray bottles that might be easier is squirty washing up bottles that you just squeeze.
That’s a great idea, Jo!
But what about when the snow melt and the paint ends up in the soil? 🙁
Tempera paints are actually non-toxic and one of the more environmentally friendly paints out there, which is one of the reasons that they’re popular paints for young children.
featured you on the kids co-op:)
Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum
I love this – can’t wait for snow to give it a try again this year.
Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots last week and just letting you know that I will be featuring this over on Rainy Day Mum this week.
We are always looking for outside, winter activities that keep snow from being thrown so this was GREAT..all ages (K-6) were involved. We do get LOTS of snow in NH. Thanks again for a great activity. JLK,
Terrific, Joy! That’s a broad age-range to appeal to, so I’m glad this was a hit with everyone!
Theres Just One Mommy
What a fun activity! We have used spray bottles with food coloring and water, and recently painted snow inside with food coloring and brushes, but never thought of using real paint!
Such a great idea! It is finally nice enough to get outside and play, I will be bringing this to the boys I nanny! They will love it! Our snow is melting so I think it’s a great last hoorah before it all goes away and we welcome spring! Love your site – have been using so many great ideas for all the kids i watch in my neighborhood.
Thank you for sharing these amazing ideas they have helped me on so many frustrating and boring days!
Yay for spring! It’s been such a long winter, hasn’t it, Sally? The snow is starting to melt here, but we have a LOT to get rid of! Hope you have fun painting yours! I’m so glad we’ve helped you entertain your hooligans with our ideas, Sally!
Great idea! I hope to try this with my pre-kindergartners if we ever get snow. What part of Ontario are you in?
I’m about an hour east of Toronto. We had a little blizzard yesterday afternoon, but it turned to rain overnight, and anything that accumulated is pretty much gone now.
I used to live an hour west of Toronto. Love Ontario! I also love your stuff!! I pin ideas all the time. Thank you!
You can also make a lot of types of paint with flour, water, cornstarch, and food colouring which would be more natural for the earth. Old dish soap bottles would be great for squirting the paint.
So were exactly do you think the paint is going to go once the snow melts? It’s going to get washed out, go into the drains and into the streams and rivers. It’s going to leave chemicals (yes, tempura paint contains harmful chemicals for wildlife) on the plants for the local animals and wildlife. It blows my mind that your only concern was getting paint on your children’s clothes. There are woderful ways to have fun with your children, even outdoors in the snow, that isn’t harmful to your local environment.
Hi Courtney. I am very conscious about the carbon footprint I’m leaving on this planet. I compost, clean my house with baking soda and vinegar, wash windows with newsprint and vinegar, make my own eco-friendly laundry detergent and use earth-friendly shampoo/conditioner. An activity such as this would likely be done once a year. Your comment, with all due respect, makes me wonder if you wash your car in the driveway, or if you’ve ever used dish soap to scrub something dirty in the yard, rinsing it off with the garden hose, or if you’ve ever given thought to the chemicals going down the drain when you shower and do your laundry daily. While I don’t take environmental pollution lightly what-so-ever, I do feel that any contamination from this activity, done once, (with non-toxic Tempera paint) would pale in comparison to the chemicals that you and I deposit into the environment daily without a thought. Thank you for raising such a thought-provoking topic.
Is it edible? What happens when dogs and other animals start licking it? What kinda mess is left after it melts?