Marble Painting

On a meander through the bargain stores the other day we picked up a huge bag of marbles for a pound. I wanted them for the Water Wall  and I knew we’d be able to use them for Marble Painting

For this activity you will need:

  • Paper (we used the last of our big roll from Ikea, but A4 will work just as well)
  • Tray/box
  • Paint
  • Marbles
  • Double sided tape (or my favourite trick, a short piece of normal tape, rolled back into a loop, so it’s sticky on both sides ;))
  • A bucket of soapy water and a towel (for the clean up)

I decided we’d use all the colours in the first go – I have a thing for rainbows. I thought if it came out as well as I was expecting it could fill some of the magnolia/beige walls in the playroom. This room has been dubbed the most liveable since we moved in a year ago, so it’s last on the list for decorating. This means Squidge, Boo and I have to jazz it up any way we can.


I squirted blobs of paint in a diagonal line to try encourage the girls to roll the marbles all over. It took them quite a while to figure this one out. I explained to Squidge that the marbles needed to roll through the paint, after some serious contemplation she picked up a marble and threw it in. I let her do this a few times so she could explore what happened. Boo was also keen to pick out the marbles (then run off up the garden with them! Cheeky monkey).

After some exploration (and a few laps of the garden chasing the marble thief) I pulled out my favourite starter ‘I wonder… what would happen if you lifted the box up?’. I’ve mentioned ‘I wonder…’ statements before but if you’re visiting for the first time, I’ll rave about them again. By thinking aloud as the adult, you are introducing an idea to a child, without them having to take it. There is no push, no command for them to do it, it’s their choice to take the idea and try it out or dismiss it. Most times children will give it a go and you’ll get a much better response than if you simply tell them what to do. These type of statements can promote and challenge children’s thinking in all kinds of situations. Give it a try, I’d love to hear how you get on.

Once I’d introduced the idea, Squidge did indeed lift the box. Both girls squealed as the marbles made trails through the paint. I helped Boo lift the box from the other end. Neither of them seemed to like it when the marbles got stuck in the blobs so they kept stopping to fish them out. I tried to reassure them that they’d roll out on their own eventually, but they were having none of it.

Squidge really got into it and was running from one end of the box to the other to lift it. Picking out marbles that got stuck and dropping them back in. Boo observed from the sidelines, encouraging Squidge with her giggles and squeals as the rainbow grew.

Once most of the paint had been rolled, we took out the marbles and washed them in the waiting bucket of soapy water and dried them on the towel. I asked if Squidge would like another go, she said she did. This time around I let her choose which colours she’d like and gave her a few options as to where she’d like the blobs.

Before we started Squidge wanted me to take a picture – she too is getting into this blogging frame of mind! Then she threw in the marbles. I left her to this one, no intervention or suggestions needed on my part at this stage – she was free to explore.


When Squidge had finished I hung both masterpieces on the washing line to dry out. They looked fab blowing in the wind – even if my neighbours think I’m crackers. They are both now pride of place in the playroom. Hanging children’s work can be a good reminder of what they’ve done in the past. Sometimes you may need to draw attention back to it ‘Do you remember how you made this?’, as after a while anything hung on a wall will become wallpaper, no longer noticed.


In hindsight, it may have been better to try this activity on a small scale first, so Squidge and Boo could really manipulate the marbles, rolling them in different directions. I think I will give it another try in a smaller container, perhaps with one blob of paint in the middle and only a few marbles. It would be nice to see the difference in what they produce. We could then move onto two colours, with a challenge of trying to mix them.

The idea with this activity is that they enjoy the process, it doesn’t matter what they produce in the end (even if I did make Squidge wash her hands half way through after she squashed her hand in the pink and I wanted it to look pretty for the wall…I think she forgives me now she can see it up there).

What do you think, will you give this one a go?

Lots of love, Cat, Squidge and Boo

If you enjoyed this post check out this messy play delight – squirty cream is involved 🙂 



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  • Fiona - Coombe Mill (August 2, 2016)

    I need to add this one to my list for activity hour. We have a lovely big roll of paper that we use for group collages and painting. This would be a fun alternative. thank you for the idea.

    • Cat (August 2, 2016)

      Glad I can return the favour Fiona 🙂 Xx

  • Elizabeth Newcamp (August 2, 2016)

    This looks so fun! I’m putting this on our list as we are in the midst of our summer break and I’m always looking for fun artsy things to do with the kids. I actually think I have everything I need for this in the house already. Thanks for the inspiration. #TwinklyTuesday

    • Cat (August 2, 2016)

      Aww great! My aim is to help with simple activity ideas that anyone can try. Depending on the age of your children, you can also make marble mazes out of lego 🙂 Mine are a bit small for that yet. I’d suggest making them a demo first, then letting them modify it and create their own xx

  • Claire (August 2, 2016)

    This is on my list of things to do with my eldest. Looks so much fun and I love the end result.

    • Cat (August 2, 2016)

      It’s definitely an easy way to create artwork worthy of any wall 🙂 xx

  • mummy here and there (August 2, 2016)

    oooo this is such a brill idea,I am going to have to give it a whirl as it is something that both my boys would enjoy immensely. X #twinklyTuesday

    • Cat (August 2, 2016)

      Glad you like it, you’ll have to share the art work/mess you create! 🙂 xx

  • Mummybexm (August 3, 2016)

    This is a lovely idea posted on a lovely blog! I will be checking out your post more often now I have found you! Thanks 🙂

    • Cat (August 3, 2016)

      Thank you ever so much 🙂 xx

  • Gemma | Two Little Misters (February 4, 2017)

    Such fantastic results! So great to do it on a large scale too, so many skills being put to use. Great for summer, I will have to try it with my two later in the year!

    • Cat (February 5, 2017)

      It is good fun and I kept up the pictures they made for a long time. I think when we do it again this summer I’ll have some big frames ready!


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