Rainy Days are great days for art projects! Have you ever considered harnessing the weather to make a rain painting? That's just what we did one afternoon when my kids and I decided it was time to give new meaning to the word "watercolors."
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You want to use a medium that will react when it comes in contact with rain water. We started out by using watercolor pencils. If you don't already have some, I love these watercolor pencils from Staedtler, but any brand will do.
First he scribbled all over watercolor paper: (I love the zig-zaggy lines!)
Instead of using a brush dipped in water to spread the colors, as you would normally do, we put it the art on our fire escape while it was raining. Keep an eye on the art and watch how the water changes it.
I think I left the rain painting out a little bit too long; it had pools of water on it and took a VERY long time to dry. So my recommendation is to watch closely and bring it back indoors when you think it's finished.
I recommend experimenting with different art materials, like watercolor crayons or oil pastels.
Next we used paint from a watercolor palette. You might find your child is more interested in playing with the brush on the palette than putting paint on paper, and the palette ends up looking like this:
That's okay, though. It's all part of the artistic process. He did create a wonderful swirly design in an autumnal color scheme which we also turned into a rain painting.
I found a spot on the fire escape that was just a bit drippy (not getting the full force of the rain) so the colors didn't all run into one big brown puddle. I like the effect. You could use this rain painting technique to teach color mixing, too.
Next, we made rain painting not with actual rain, but with a spray bottle. We got out our liquid watercolors and did some resist painting, first with a wax crayon and then colored crayons. We discovered washable crayons don't work well for this, so be sure to use regular crayons. Next time I would like to try oil pastels.
After drawing with the crayons, he painted over it with the watercolors. Then, he used the spray bottle to "make it rain" on the paintings. He sprinkled on some chunky salt.
The salt absorbs some of the water and creates an interesting effect. Our coffee filter watercolor art project also teaches kids about absorption.
Nature + Art = Rain Painting!
Original idea published 2009, updated 2022.