Pendulum Painting Activity

3.5 based on 398 ratings
Updated on Jan 17, 2014

If you're the parent of an artistic child, chances are, you have a lot of paint lying around the house. Painting is a great way for kids to get a sense of colors and patterns and also is just plain fun. But if finger-painting and simple pictures are starting to get a little dry, and you're looking for a new way to approach this classic medium, here's a unique painting style for any preschooler to try: make easy pendulum paintings. All you need is a funnel and string, some paint, and a canvas, and you can really get into the 'swing' of things!

Note: This project takes some coordination and timing but is tons of fun and creates very interesting designs.

What You Need:

  • Newspaper
  • Small plastic funnel
  • Strong string
  • Tape
  • Sheet of paper
  • Powdered tempera paint
  • Liquid starch
  • Scissors
  • Small pitcher

What You Do:

  1. This could get messy, so lay newspapers down over your work surface.
  2. Take string and secure it to the funnel by tying or taping it around the large rim of plastic at the top of the funnel. Tie or tape three strings about fifteen inches in length spaced equally around the edge of the funnel. Tie the three ends together above the funnel so that the funnel is supported by the string.
  3. Mix some liquid starch and powdered tempera paint in a pitcher. The liquid starch will help the paint flow smoothly. Be careful though, you don't wanna overdo it with the starch and let the paint become too thin.
  4. Lay out several pieces of paper to create a canvas for your pendulum painting. 
  5. Hold the pendulum funnel and string over the paper.
  6. Place a finger over the spout of the funnel with the other hand.
  7. Help your child pour paint into the funnel.
  8. When the funnel is full, have your child remove the finger and give the funnel a swing.
  9. Keep the pendulum funnel moving until all the paint has completely dripped out of the funnel.
  10. Add a new color to the funnel and paint to your heart's content.

If you want to try a different way of setting up your paint pendulum, try balancing a dowel from one chair to another and hang the pendulum funnel from the dowel. Proceed by adding paint and removing the finger from the spout to release the paint. Or instead of paint, consider filling the funnel with colored sand, plain sand or salt, and dry tempera paint mixed together to create a vastly different look!

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