Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Exploring Great Artists with Kids: Van Gogh for Toddlers

For the 4th of July, I did a post of Ten Art and Science Explosions to do with Kids. In the process, we discovered a milk/dish soap/food coloring science experiment that creates the effect of magic paint as the color moves through the liquid. 

Some of the effects made me think of Van Gogh's Starry Night, one of my favorite paintings. It seemed like a great way for Wild Thing (my 2.5 yo) to create his own Van Gogh-ish masterpiece, particularly since he loved the milk activity the last time we did it. 

I thought this would be perfect for Red Ted Art's awesome Kids Get Arty link-up!

So, I pulled a photo of the famous painting up on my computer for us to look at as we did our experiment. We discussed the colors in the painting and the way they swirled.

We put the foil sculpture in the pan first and added some black paint. Next, we poured the milk on the cookie sheet. Then, he looked at the painting and selected food coloring drops and placement based on the painting. Finally, we added the drops of the dish soap and let our magic paint get to work -- creating our paint swirls.

He had so much fun with this activity and as the paint moved, he often decided we needed to add more color here or there. Since Wild Thing is 2.5 yo, this activity provided a fun way to recreate an artist's painting and to discuss the colors and styles of the painting on his level. 

Please visit Red Ted Art to see other activities to do with kids as they explore great artists! 

You might also like:
Learning about Diego Rivera
Mixed Media Outdoor Art
iPod Baby Art


  1. Wow Jennifer, this is awesome! I love that you are teaching famous artists to your toddler at such a young age! To answer your wipes question: You could put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on, then use the wipe, or you could simply soak the cloths in the solution (they'll soak up the water) and use them as you would regular wipes! Hope that helps! :) Do you use Grovia diapers, too? We use Kawaii diapers. :)

  2. We love teaching fine art to Littles. This is great activity! My TGIF post is here:

  3. what a fun way to explore the art with your little one. Magic Milk is pretty awesome but you took it to a whole new level :)

  4. Wow, what an amazing idea (and you are combining art with science - fantastic). Your final piece of art is beautiful and so original.

    Thank you so much for joining us on our Kids Get Arty journey!


  5. That's brilliant! It looks so effective! Perfect for the starry night.

    Thanks for linking to the Sunday showcase.

  6. Welcome to a new Linky Party for Kid-Focused Bloggers. Monday Kid Corner is a place to share your kid-friendly activities and crafts. Please join us at See you there!

  7. What kind of paper did you use; fingerpaint paper?

    1. It's not paper or paint. It's milk with food coloring and dish soap. You pour milk in a cookie sheet then add a few drops of food coloring and a few drops of dish soap. This gives the paint effect.

  8. I love combining art and science. We post a lot about those famous artist too! Love it :)