Our Earth rocks: a pour painting activity

To continue our celebration of Earth day we created Earth-inspired pour painted rocks. Although we do all kinds of pouring in our classroom including pouring in the water and sand table, pouring our own juice at snack time, and even pouring glue for art – pour painting is a process that we hadn’t tried before…

Earth rocks and pour painting by Teach Preschool

Any kind of pouring that takes place involves the use of eye-hand coordination and the ability to judge when to stop and when to keep going but the nice thing about pour painting is that you really can’t get it wrong no matter how much or how little you pour…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

To encourage the children to focus on “pouring” and not on “dumping” the paint, we encouraged the children to slowly pour the paint from the cups and to keep switching back and forth between colors until they had used up all of their paint. Here is how the process looked…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

The children held a cup of paint high above the center of their rock, then slowly began pouring…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

The children poured a small amount of their first paint color onto their rock then they chose their second color and began slowly pouring it in the center of their rock, on top of their first color…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

The children alternated pouring their colors on top of each other until their rocks were covered and their cups were empty…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

This process is wonderfully simple, yet the results are so beautiful!  By alternating the colors that are poured, the paint is pushed down the rock, creating brilliant designs…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

Pour painting requires a paint with the right consistency for pouring. In our case, we used a mixture of white water soluble, low odor house paint (that’s why the children had to wear paint smocks on this one) and tempera paint but the mess pretty much stayed contained in the box we used to hold our rocks…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

Pour painting is also known as Tall Painting. Here is a video that I shared last year of Tall Painting (in case you haven’t ever seen it before)…

Available on Amazon

Links to grow on: 

Tall Painting, Tall Town: from Go Beyond the Classroom

Ketchup and mustard squeeze painting in preschool by Teach Preschool

Our “tall paintings” by Teacher Tom

Rainbow pour painted pots by Dilly-Dali Art

By |2017-04-18T09:27:28+00:00April 15th, 2013|

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. Amy April 15, 2013 at 6:43 am - Reply

    This is adorable and a very creative way to build coordination!

  2. JDaniel4's Mom April 15, 2013 at 8:22 am - Reply

    These are so pretty! I bet the kids loved pouring the paint.

  3. Nina Araujo April 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Dear Deborah,
    Thank you for mentioning us in this great post. Can you imagine what your garden will look like with the “tall rocks?” I always have so much fun when I visit this site…!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      I think that it would be the most beautiful garden ever!

  4. Sarah Mosley April 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    This is a great activity. What is the paint mixture you used? Thanks for always sharing great activity.

  5. Sarah Mosley April 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    I read the mixture…

  6. Scott April 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    We’ve always wanted to do this but never have. And I never thought about using rocks. You’re inspiring me again to get to pouring paint with my kids.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 13, 2017 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Scott! I haven’t tried poured painting in quite sometime myself! I think I will have to give it a go again soon too!

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