activity sponge painting printing

Sponge Painting

Shapes, sponges, color, repeat! Making these geometric prints expresses your growing preschooler’s small motor skills, creativity and hand-eye coordination.


This can be messy so prepare yourself, your child, and your work space. Check out our FAQ for easy cover-up tips.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Fresh, unused sponges cut into a variety of sizes and shapes. Cheap, thin sponges like these from Amazon work best.
  2. Sharp scissors - to cut your sponges, for Adult use only!
  3. Liquid tempera paint from a jar like this or tubes like these.  Begin with two primary colors, such as red and blue.
  4. Shallow containers to hold each paint color. We like to use disposable, 9 inch aluminum pie pans like these. They contain the paint well, are easy to clean, and fit most sponge sizes.
  5. Light color paper such as white or yellow - Printer paper found here and white construction paper like this work equally well for this activity. Your choice!
  6. Optional - Brushes. See our Materials page for the right size brush for your little artist.
  7. Optional - Wooden clothespins such as these, to use as sponge-handles, if you’re concerned about getting paint on little fingers.
  1. Adults and some older 4’s can cut up the sponges in different shapes and sizes. Remember, the younger the child, the bigger the size sponge piece works best. 
  2. Skilly Spark: Talk with your child about how you will paint with your sponges. Have a quick chat about their different shapes and show how they can be combined to make new shapes. Look at how two triangles can become a square. A square can turned on its side and be a diamond. Talk about patterns and how shapes can be repeated. Plus, we can count our shapes, too.
  3. Show your child how to dip a sponge piece in the paint and then apply it to the paper. Our 2 year-olds and young 3’s may enjoy the dipping even more than the painting part!
  4. Continue dipping and applying. 4 year-olds may want to make a picture or a design using as many sponge pieces as desired. 2 year-old's and 3 year-old's creations will be more random, as they explore this new painting technique.
  5. For more fun, try using the sponges like a big brush. Simply dip and then swipe the paint across the paper.
  6. If the mood strikes, grab a paintbrush to add more details.
  7. Don’t forget that your sponges can be washed with a bitf soap and water and saved future creative use.


Keep the fun going
  • Keep on color mixing! Use 2 more primary colors to explore how they combine.
  • Need some bespoke wrapping paper? Use a long sheet from a roll of easel paper found here on Amazon and make original wrapping paper from your child’s sponge painting.
  • Celebrate with shapes. Cut spongy hearts, trees, angels, flowers ... whatever suits the holidays you observe and times time of year you celebrate.