Pretty pink and blue car painting in preschool

It is fascinating to me how combining a favorite toy with some paint, often reaches children who would otherwise dismiss coming to the painting center all together. Cars, for example, are great toys that children love to play with. Add a set of cars to paint and all of my students are suddenly interested in the painting process…

When I first set out the cars for painting, I only provided white paint.  In my mind, car tracks should either be white paint on black paper or black paint on white paper but then my students started asking me if they could have another color. My first reaction was to argue my point about why we should use white paint but then I realized that I was being silly. I mean really – who cares what color the tracks are?…

I have learned throughout this year that it is important to be an observer of the painting experience so I can evaluate what the children enjoy or what I need to change to make the process more engaging – right there on the spot!…

So per request, we added some color.  The girls wanted red paint and the boys requested blue and green. They had a choice from every color I had in the box including orange, green, and others but this is what we ended up with. Once the new colors were added to the white paint, many of my students spent up to 45 minutes painting with their cars…

There are days when some of my students don’t want to stop their play to sit down and paint.  This tells me that the painting activity is competing for their attention rather than capturing their attention…

Adding unique painting tools or more color or bigger paper or a number of other things can make the painting process more intriguing to young children. Adding cars kept the element of play involved in the painting process and didn’t leave the children feeling like they had to give up on their play in order to do something else.

But once we added color, car painting took on another dimension. Car painting now became about the process of color mixing.  The children explored the mixing of white paint with the other colors which resulted in beautiful pastel pink, blue, and green colors…

Links to grow on…

M is for Mud Painting by Crayon Freckles

Transportation Week in Preschool: Links shared by Teach Preschool on Delicious

PreK + K Sharing
By |2012-01-08T07:00:44+00:00January 8th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Tina January 8, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I do this with my 3 year old class and they love it. I put little dollops of paint right on their paper and they run the cars though it. I also will take away the paint brushes in the painting centre and replace them with pipe cleaners. I love watching how they bend the pipecleaners in all sorts of shapes to paint with them. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 8, 2012 at 11:06 am - Reply

      Pipe cleaners make wonderful and creative tools for paint Tina! I love that you are letting your three year old enjoy the painting experience!

  2. 🙂 I asked my son he he wanted to try your activity. He said yes but add: “We have to go buy new cars for the activity!”. I asked him why? (we have over 90 cars from the movie Cars). He said: I’m collecting them, they’re not for playing lol So, we’re suppose to go to Toys’r us later. Looks really fun this activity!

  3. April January 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Looks like fun!

    I was going to comment on your hot coco posts but the comments were closed. I am going to do a hot coco mini theme in my kindergarten class and also a little bit at home with my daughter. Thank you!

  4. Miss Eileen January 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    we’re car painting tomorrow in our class : ) I like to do the primary colors on white paper. I put cars in each color of paint for the students to choose from – when the car paths cross the colors mix and you end up with rainbow tracks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 11, 2012 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      This is a great idea and I love bright rainbow colors!!

  5. [email protected] January 31, 2012 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Painting with cars has always been one of our favorites around here. Children love to run the cars all over the place! It is interesting to see how similar the experiences for the children become when engaged in the same type of activity! Thanks for linking up over at the PreKand K Sharing We LOVE Paint! Linky today!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. January 31, 2012 at 12:40 am - Reply

      You are welcome Amy – I love paint!!

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