Painting with tools- a fun process art activity for preschoolers and toddlers!

My kids LOVE working with their dad’s tools. Today, they helped daddy repair some wood posts on the house when I was trying to get their attention for an indoor activity. I finally gave in to their interests and grabbed a handful of the safest tools I could find and offered this simple painting activity for them. They were happily surprised and let daddy peacefully finish his job while they painted with his tools 🙂


  • Various small hand tools
  • WASHABLE paint
  • Paper

Super easy set-up for this activity- it basically consisted of me setting out the tools, paper, and paint and letting them go at it! They didn’t need much explanation (at this point, they are used to painting with interesting objects! See how we painted with feathers, painted with sandals, and painted with toy animals in these posts!)


The tools were really interesting to paint with- they were nothing like paintbrushes (obviously) because they didn’t drag paint nicely and evenly across the page. Some tools made interesting prints, while other (like the screwdriver) were more challenging paint with. A good talking point here would be to discuss what those tools CAN do (versus comparing them to paintbrushes and focusing on what they can’t do), a valuable life lesson, don’t you think?

Painting with tools- a great life lesson contained in this simple activity!

Opportunities like this also support flexible thinking skills, which help our children become creative problem solvers. In this case, we flexed creative thinking skills by using tools to paint with (an atypical use for the item). In doing this, we practiced “thinking outside the box,” an essential skill for nurturing creativity and ingenuity.  So many big lessons in one small activity! (Keep in mind these lessons will be “taught” just by doing the activity! This is in no way meant to be a heavy lecture on life and learning.)

[transitioning back to the activity…]

My boys couldn’t get enough of testing the tools and paint in various ways. At one point they realized that since the tools were heavy they would knock over our paint pots from their weight. Their solutions was to add more tools to evenly distribute more weight in the container- ummm, genius! (although I may be bias, that was totally brilliant 😉 )

ainting with tools

And since we like to recommend activities based on books, here’s our current library reads that coordinated perfectly with this activity:

Tap Tap Bang Bang

Tap Tap Bang Bang by Emma Garcia

The Toolbox

The Toolbox by Anne & Harlow Rockwell

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Study at Home Mama’s Construction Provocation Idea!

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Painting with tools- There are SO many lessons in this simple preschool process art activity!

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