Painting is such great fun for children, and an essential activity for the early years. This activity is a great combination of S.T.E.M. and art, as the paint follows the movement of the pendulum. For more learning, have your children figure out how to build the pendulum before painting (this is not necessary, just extra). This is a popular art project you can set it up and play with for a week or even longer! Guaranteed hours of fascination for your little learners, from ages one to 100! If it is a nice day out, this is a perfect outdoor activity. Plus, it’s very inexpensive and simple.

Best Ages for This Activity

This activity is great for one to five-year-old children (or older).

How to Make It


  • Washable paint – you can use one colour, or you can do several colours, one at a time.
  • A Large sheet of paper
  • A container to put the paint in (one per colour). It can be anything from a paper cup with a hole at the bottom, to an empty glue container or pop bottle hung upside down. Here are some examples:

  • String or even yarn – anything you find around the house!
  • A “tripod” to hold your bottle. You can use two chairs, or a tall open ladder paired with a broomstick. This is the S.T.E.M. part of the experiment – invite your child to try building the tripod.

Let’s Play!

  • You are now ready to paint!
  • Build your tripod (see pictures below for examples) – the taller your tripod is, the better the designs you will get.
  • Attach the string to your container, making sure the hole where the paint will drip out of is at the bottom (see pictures below for examples)
  • Attach the container to your tripod (see pictures below for examples)
  • Add paint to your container
  • Place the sheet of paper on the floor, either outside or inside, under your tripod
  • If you want to change colours, all you do is replace the container. If you use an empty glue bottle, you can always seal it back up after you finish
  • Your child will know what to do next!

Learning Opportunities

Children will learn S.T.E.M., especially engineering while building the tripod, and seeing how the movement of their bottle translates into perfect figures on the paper. They will also express themselves artistically, and have a beautiful art piece to keep at the end of the fun process. They will also use their fine and gross motor skills, which contribute to writing, and enjoy a highly sensorial activity.

Extended Learning Opportunities

If you don’t have the space, or if you want to do this activity again in a smaller scale, try making it smaller on top of a table:

Things to Keep in Mind

Please keep in mind that young children need adult supervision at all times. Paint can be slippery and very messy – if you don’t want colourful footprints all over your house or yard, stay close!

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