Paint by Car

Toy tractor pictured with bottle of paint and small plastic dishes on top of paper

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Drive Through Art

Toy tractor pictured with bottle of paint and small plastic dishes on top of paper
  • What: Paint by Car
  • When: 12 months and up
  • Why: Entertaining, free, creative
  • Where: At home

Need an easy art project for your young child? If you’ve exhausted the appeal of rolling marbles around in paint, look no further than your toy cars for more artistic inspiration.

Paint by car supplies orange and black paint in small plastic bowls, paper on cookie sheet decorated by driving cars through paint and onto paper
You probably already own everything you need for this easy art project.

This project requires paint, paper, and a toy car or two. I personally prefer cars with bigger wheels and less nooks and crannies for paint to get into, but any car you can wash with water works. Bigger pieces of paper work great for this project. We taped two regular sheets together to fill the bottom of a cookie sheet and help contain the mess. You will also need a place to pour some paint and put the car into, like a shallow plastic dish or paper plate.

Motorcycle toy car and blue toy tractor with paint on wheels
The paint easily came off both these sets of wheels.

Once you get everything set up, let kids dip their cars into the paint, then roll them out on the paper. They can use the same car for multiple colors, or use a different vehicle for each color. It can be fun to experiment with different sizes of cars as well, from the tiny Drive Pocket series to Nerf foam cars to Matchbox

Two boys painting on paper with cars
Using bigger paper means more than one child can drive at the same time.

No matter what size and type you choose, after your child finishes their masterpiece, you can have them take everything to the sink to rinse off. The paint comes off easiest before it dries on the wheels. Set the paper aside to let it dry then hang it up and admire it, at least until they feel like getting behind the wheel with some paint again.

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