Popsicles can be made from many different things: fresh smoothies, fruit juices, and…paint? Oh, yeah! Paint popsicles are a sensory delight.
Paint popsicles are the cool kids in town
We are in beautiful Northern California where our year-round weather is pretty incredible, but the Summertime temperatures can reach 700 zillion degrees.
To keep cool outside, we have to get pretty creative with our activities, so with no further ado, let’s meet paint popsicles.
Related: Speaking of paint, our GIANT 10-foot coloring page banners are the best! Paint in the large spaces (and the back of the paper when done) with your paint popsicles, too.
We make paint popsicles all of the time
Even though you can’t eat these, they’re still the best popsicles around.
They’re colorful, easy to make, and feel cool to the touch – what’s not to love?
We use these indoors, outdoors, during our warmest months, during our coldest months, and even after all of these years, we still can’t get enough.
Looking for more fun paint projects? These ones are delightful:
- Homemade Edible Whipped Paints – Fun at Home with Kids
- Painted Box Cake Kids Activity – Busy Toddler
- Rainbow Sponge Painting – The Best Ideas for Kids
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- Kids’ paint – we used BioColor paint here, but tempera or washable paints work, too!
- Small paper cups
- Popsicle sticks
- White paper
- Aluminum foil – optional
These are a make-the-day-ahead of time kind of thing, so the day of, you just pop them out of the freezer and go!
This is the meal prepping of art projects. 😂
- Fill each paper cup with paint – you can add one color of paint to each cup (ex: an all green popsicle) or several colors to each cup by layering the paint (ex: a rainbow popsicle). To make muti-colored popsicles, squirt paint on top of the previous layer until you can no longer see the bottom color.
- Add a popsicle stick – once each cup fills to your liking, add a popsicle stick into the center of each cup. If your popsicle stick falls over, you can add a small piece of aluminum foil across the top of the cup, cut a small hole, and push the popsicle stick through the hole to keep in place.
- Freeze overnight – transfer to the freezer overnight (and make sure to let everyone else know that these are not snacks. Trust us, they’re not delicious).
- Time to paint – After your popsicles are frozen solid, gently peel away the paper cup to reveal the masterpiece inside. Now it’s time to paint! Kids can paint by holding onto the stick or by holding onto the frozen popsicle directly. Push, pull, roll, squeeze, bang, and explore with your frozen paint.
Paint popsicles last longer than you might think!
Because this is a large chunk of frozen-solid paint, it takes quite a bit of time for it to melt completely. Often, these end up lasting so long that we can put them back in the freezer to use again the next day.
To speed up the melting, use these outdoors on a hot day or hold the paint popsicle in your hands, not by the stick.
I have made these every semester for my college art students and my adult students went crazy for them (just like kids!).
Once, we had so much paint left on each popsicle when class ended that one of my students took them home with her. She was able to take them home, freeze them again overnight, and enjoy them with her kids the next day!
Is this called process art?
YES! Process-art means there is no intended product and the joy isn’t in the final piece but in the process of creating itself.
Here’s the process art test: if you did this in the classroom and gave each child their own piece of paper to paint on, would all of the papers look identical when complete? No way, Jose. Each piece would look different and unique, just like each artist.
If this were a craft, each piece of art would look identical (or nearly identical) at the end.
We recommend only making these with some type of kids’ paint and not acrylic.
We always freeze ours overnight!
No. make sure to only make/do this activity with children who will not try to eat the paint popsicles.
Paint popsicles are crazy cool
Whether it’s warm or cold outside, these are always a fun process-art exploration. We love these in July just as much as we do in February.
Are you going to make yours one color or layered?
We can’t wait to see yours!