This is the easiest, least messy way I have found to do this type of project. The children will still have fun and the results will be what you are looking for.
Supplies: art smocks, newspaper to protect surfaces or wet towels handy for cleanup right away, light blue heavy construction paper, red tempera paint, yellow tempera paint, blue tempera paint, and white tempera paint. Lighten up the primary blue paint with white to soften the color up. Otherwise the straight blue from the container will overpower the painting. If you stick with a dark color in your mix, like a unlightened primary blue, don’t overwork the project once the marble is introduced into the project. If you overwork the marble the colors with all turn into a dark mess. You will also need: shallow cardboard boxes from the grocery store that hold water or pop, tape, plastic spoons (one per paint color), and marbles. If you have some upbeat, kid friendly music, you may want to play it during the project. Make sure they can hear you though over the music.
Volunteers should add just a teaspoon or less to each color. You want the consistency of medium-thick gravy. If the paint does not get watered down the marble that is going to be used will get stuck in the paint while the children are trying to move the marble around. You could use thick paint but little ones will get a little frustrated when it is stuck for a while.
Project leaders should add rolled up tape onto the back of the blue paper in the four corners of the page. Place the paper in the middle of the inside of the cardboard box so it will not move around during the project.
Children can work at their desks or on the floor. It’s best if they are in groups to share the paint bowls. And, it’s important they have enough elbow room to move their boxes.
Using the spoon in each paint container holding paint have a child take a spoonful of one color and drizzle it onto he page where they want. Students can take turns with the paint rotating their turns. They do not have to all be working on the same color at the same time. This also helps the volunteer control students from working ahead. And, a student may have to wait for their turn. It’s ok.
Place the spoon back in the container and move to the next color.
Doing the same thing as above scoop up the color in the spoon and drizzle it on the page.
Continue the same process with the 3rd and 4th color.
Now it’s time to give each child just one marble. They can place the marble in the box wherever they’d like and start moving the marble around. Advise the students to watch where the marble is going and to try and control it. Move the marble all around the page making different lines. The box can be rotated if they want to as well. Some will be more comfortable
holding their boxes in just one position the entire time. Either way is fine.
Keep an eye on the class as they use their marble. Reinforce that they want to move the marble around the page through the paint. They dont want their marble to just rotate around the edge of the box.
Stop after no more than one minute and have the children place the box down to look at their work. Now is the time for them to decide if they are done or want to work at the art a little more. If some are done that’s fine. They should place their boxes in a spot where they will not be tempted to work on it anymore. For those that want to work on their project a little more let them start up again moving the same marble around their page. One marble is used the entire time. If more are added usually one falls out of the box.
Some will want to stop and actually need to work on it a little more. Some will want to keep working at it but should stop before it gets muddy looking. As the project helper it is up to you to guide them by pointing out the white spaces or pointing out that it’s fun to move the marble around but the painting is going to become to muddy looking.
Little hands get tired fast with this project. Don’t be surprised if you hear them telling you this.
It’s best if YOU can take the marble out of the box when all is done. Marbles are easy to roll out of the box into a container where all the painted marbles can be stored to get cleaned. Taking the marbles out for the little artists will avoid fingers, hands, or sleeves from rubbing the newly created artwork.
If you want to use a different color palette you need to make a sample using the colored paper and paint that you are considering beforehand. Make
sure the end result gives you the color combination you are looking for. What’s in our heads may not work out on paper. If you don’t have time to make a sample,
don’t use different colors.
This project does not include using different materials. If you are going to use different materials you need to make a sample of what you are thinking. And, if possible have a youngster make the sample as well. I have tried this project with sticks, feathers, yarn, 5 marbles, rocks, etc… All are great to let kids explore with for art. But, if you are trying to work on a project in a short amount of time this one gets the results you want while letting the kids have a lot of fun in the process.