Painting with Sound

painting with sound preschool art ideaThis painting with sound activity was too brilliant to not share. It’s a perfect addition to a 5 senses theme. I can’t claim any credit for this other than choosing a great preschool for my kids. This came directly from my daughter’s teachers and when I saw it Wednesday I gasped because it’s pretty rare when I see something new to me. The only thing I changed was to put it on a vertical surface but that was because I was duplicating the activity only a few hours after my daughter did it at school and wanted to change it a little for her. I love using my doors as makeshift easels.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paintbrushes ( these were sent to me from and worked well! ) , jingle bells, pipe cleaners, paper, and paint. If you are doing this on a window like we did you will want some painter’s tape to keep the paper up without leaving crud on your window.painting with sound preschool art
  2. Start by threading the bells on the pipe cleaners. I put different numbers of bells on each to create slightly different sounds.
  3. Wrap around the end of the paint brushes.painting with sound 5 senses activity for kids
  4. Let your little one explore the brushes and shake before they get covered in paint . She shook them as hard as she could before they were covered in paint.painting with sound exploring art for toddlers
  5. Grab some paint and paper.
  6. Add your artist. painting with sound jingle bell painting She really liked this and  loved hearing the jiggle bells as she was painting.  We talked about which ones made the prettiest sound and she decided she only liked 3 out of the 4 and refused to use the largest one at all. Using the vertical surface seemed to encourage her to make big strokes which really made the bells jingle. We ended up learning all about color mixing too. painting with sound 5 senses for preschoolShe wanted to make red so we tried all the combinations to discover how close we could come to it. Don’t shy away from lessons like color mixing that emerge from other ones.painting with jingle bells Yes the plan was to talk about sound but there is always room for more or different lessons.
  7. I even managed to step away and start dinner while she painted and made beautiful tinkling sounds.painting with sound toddler art


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  1. Annie says

    I love the idea btw! just feeling an unwanted cautiousness about letting my 2yo loose with paints and white walls/doors..would welcome tips on how to get round this (which you obviously have) x

    • Allison McDonald says

      Actually my daughter ( who is really almost 3 now) did get the wall that day. I handed her a wet paper towel and asked her to wipe it up. Then I told her if she did it again we’d put the paint away. Make sure you have washable paints ( these are crayola kid paint which I find to be really really washable) , and some wipes or wet towel on hand. It might mean that you do this activity ( or similar ones) 10 times but only make it to a minute each time before they paint the wall get a warning and do it again.

      I use words like ” We paint on paper, where is the paper?” a lot.. a LOT when we first started painting with more freedom and it can feel very mind numbing at times saying so much but it works.

      Be consistent. No need for huge reactions ( they LOVE it when we react big and keeping those big reactions for when they are in danger and we need to make them stop immediately is probably better) and give them a natural consequence like cleaning it up.

      Now this works for me 90% of the time but sometimes kids go rogue ( like the time my son at 5 wrote his name in sharpie on my fireplace. That got a huge reaction trust me. FYI dry erase markers take sharpie off most hard surfaces). It’s not always because of anything we have or haven’t done. So don’t blame yourself or think there is anything wrong. It’s natural to want to explore .

      Sorry to ramble – just wanted to say that my kids do it too the key is to warn, follow through with consequenses and only use washable paints!

    • Lisa says

      How about taking this idea outside once the weather begins to warm up where you live. This is a fabulous idea and one that children of all ages will enjoy and benefit from. However, sometimes we need to adapt our expectations. My 2 year old is not going to be able to keep the paint only on the paper. This is no reflection on my parenting or on him personally…this is the reality of being 2 years old. I do not mean to sound harsh but only want to stress helping children find ways to participate in experiences and activities in ways that encourage learning and success.

  2. Hayley says

    I am an Occupational Therapist and I love this activity – what a simple way of incorporating auditory stimulation into what is commonly used to develop fine motor skills!! Love this website.


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