Warmer days are made for outdoor art. The messy stuff can stay outside (like all that baby-safe paint), and your kids (probably) won’t mind when you use the hose to spray ‘em down when they’re done. From painting with water to using salad spinners to contain the mess, scroll down to see 10 ideas that are big on creativity, but easy on cleanup.  

photo: Jackie Currie via Happy Hooligans

1. Paint with H2O
Quite possibly the cleanest, easiest idea of the bunch, we love the simple brilliance of water painting. This is an especially great project for the tot lot because there’s no paint to be found! Happy Hooligans has more tips and tricks.

photo: Meri Cherry via Meri Cherry

2. Keep It Contained
The best way to prevent art from getting messy is to keep it contained. Which is why we think this spin-art idea from 
Meri Cherry is pure genius. Your kids will get cool, swirly designs, and all you’ll have to do is drop the spinner in the sink when everyone is done. See exactly what you’ll need over at Meri Cherry.

photo: Melissa Lenning via Fireflies and Mud Pies

3. Use a Squirt Gun
If you don’t want the family art easel to be covered in paint, you can easily recreate this idea by simply attaching a few sheets of paper to a tree! We love the idea of containing the colors in a squirt gun, too. See more of this brilliant idea over at Fireflies and Mudpies.

photo: Stephanie Pass via the Tip Toe Fairy

4. Ditch the Sidewalk Chalk
You’ll be able to ditch the dusty residue of sidewalk chalk with this easy foam paint recipe. Plus, keeping the paint contained in the condiment bottles helps to keep little hands free of stains. You can grab the recipe from the Tip Toe Fairy.

sheetpainting_carolynebert_easycleanup_outdoorart_national_redtricyclephoto: Carolyn Elbert via The Pleasantest Thing

5. Lay Down the Sheet
If your kids colored on your 400-thread count sheets indoors, there’d be trouble. But, bring the sheet outside and it’s another story altogether. We love this simple and easy project from The Pleasantest Thing.

photo: Aimee Ray via Flickr

6. Use What You Find Outdoors
Create a mandala using materials you find in the yard: leaves, sticks, rocks, and other bits. Once everyone is done, leave the design right where it is—no cleanup needed! If you want to know how to get the center just right, pop on over to Playful Learning.

photo: Aleacia Hitchcock

7. Skip the Paint Brushes
These incredible rainbow pour pots are pretty easy when it comes to cleanup, especially since there aren’t any brushes involved. Just be sure to totally cover the space before handing over the squeeze bottles. Make your way to Messy Little Monster for the tutorial.

windowpainting_vickymessforless_easycleanup_outdoorart_national_redtricyclephoto: Mess for Less

8. Use the Windows as a Creative Space
Washing windows just got a lot more creative. Give your kids brushes and spray bottles, and watch them paint, clear, and paint again. Head to Mess for Less for ideas on how to get the paint/water mixture just right.

saltart_chelseyMbuggyandbuddy_easycleanup_outdoorart_national_redtricyclephoto: Chelsey Marashian via Buggy and Buddy

9. Consider Dry Supplies
Colored salt projects are gorgeous, and they help to hone fine motor skills, too! After you’ve taken plenty of pictures, all you’ll need is a broom and dustpan to sweep it away. Find out how to color the salt—and how to get it to pour just right—over at Buggy and Buddy.

photo: Becca Eby via Lemon Lime Adventures

10. Use Your Go-To Gear
When you’ve got crayons, paper, and little fingers, what else do you need? When it’s time to clean up, simply roll up the paper and go! See more of this simple idea over at Lemon Lime Adventures.

— Gabby Cullen



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