Abstract Art

This activity is a great way to invite children to explore mixing colors. This is a process art activity, where the process of painting, exploring, making predictions, and adaptations is just as valuable as the final product. We love painting on recycled cardboard because it makes for a large and sturdy surface that children can explore without worrying about making a mess or making mistakes.

We highly encourage you to do this activity outside, whether on concrete or in your yard, as this is a great way to invite children to work on a project together, especially if working with mixed ages. You can even work on this art for a few days.

Set up Time: 10 minutes


Gather a large piece of cardboard. Make a modern design using craft tape. The best part is, that this does not have to be perfect!

Invite children to paint the cardboard! Older children can try to be neat about it and paint inside the lines, while younger children can paint as freely as they like!

When your painting is dry, remove the tape and marvel at your creation!

To continue the process, ask children where they would like to hang their art, or if there’s anything they would like to add to it!


  • Cardboard
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Painters tape

Learning Through Play

Cognitive: Problem Solving – Process art is a great way to engage in the exploration of creation. We might have a vision when we start something, but we might discover something along the way that inspires us. For example, in our activity we discovered that if we used thick paint we were able to get a smooth surface, but when we started to run out of paint it was still okay because we then noticed the texture of the cardboard more. We wondered how the activity might be different if we used different tools (sponges, rollers) or if we used different paint (watercolor, acrylic). With process art, that means you could try out these different tools and materials the next day!

Social-Emotional: Self-Regulation – We love group activities that are inclusive of all learners. For example, there is space and room for both a toddler and a preschool aged child to express themselves freely with this activity. When we do this activity outdoors, that adds another layer of freedom, as the children who are feeling more quiet can focus on the art project, while the children who are feeling more active can have time and space to move their bodies. For example, if you have a child who is riding a tricycle while another is painting, that is perfectly fine! They are both learning valuable skills.

School Readiness: Shapes – One thing about abstract art is that it is also a great way to teach shapes! Talk about the shapes you see on your painting, some of which you may have made by accident! Invite children to spot the triangles, squares, and other shapes they may not know the name of (like a trapezoid!).

See this activity in the Rayz Kidz app along with the other fun activities. Rayz Kidz is your trusted source for play-based activities featuring over 100 themes and 500+ hands-on activities and clear descriptions of the beautiful learning that is happening through play.