When you want to get creative with your kids but don’t want the mess to take over, outside art is key. The messy stuff can stay outside (like all that baby-safe paint), and your kids (probably) won’t mind when you use the hose to spray them down when they’re done. From painting with water to using salad spinners to contain the mess, check out these outdoor art ideas that are big on creativity, but easy on cleanup.  

Paint with Water

adorable kids doing outdoor art
Jackie Currie via Happy Hooligans

Quite possibly the cleanest, easiest idea of the bunch, we love the simple brilliance of water painting. This is an especially great outdoor art project for toddlers because there’s no paint to be found! Happy Hooligans has more tips and tricks.

Use a Salad Spinner

use a salad spinner for outdoor art
Meri Cherry via Meri Cherry

The best way to prevent art from getting messy is to keep it contained. That's why we think this spin-art idea from Meri Cherry is pure genius. Your kids will get swirly designs, and all you’ll have to do is drop the spinner in the sink when everyone is done. See what you’ll need over at Meri Cherry.

Pull out the Squirt Guns

use a squirt gun for outdoor art
Melissa Lenning via Fireflies and Mud Pies

If you don’t want the family art easel to be covered in paint, you can easily recreate this outdoor art idea by attaching a few sheets of paper to a tree! We love the idea of containing the colors in a squirt gun, too. Get more details about this brilliant idea over at Fireflies and Mudpies.

Related: 27 Adorable Toddler Crafts You Can Pull Out Anytime

Make Foam Paint for the Sidewalk

use foam paint for outdoor art
Stephanie Pass via the Tip Toe Fairy

You’ll be able to ditch the dusty residue of sidewalk chalk with this easy foam paint recipe. Plus, keeping the paint contained in the condiment bottles helps to keep little hands free of stains. 


Related: Need 20+ Minutes of Quiet Time? Study Says These Crafts Are Your Best Bet

Skip the Paint Brushes

Aleacia Hitchcock

These incredible rainbow pour pots are pretty easy when it comes to cleanup, especially since there aren’t any brushes involved. Just be sure to totally cover the space before handing over the squeeze bottles. Make your way to Messy Little Monster for the tutorial.


Colored Salt

Chelsey Marashian via Buggy and Buddy

Colored salt projects are gorgeous, and they help to hone fine motor skills, too! After you've taken plenty of pictures, all you’ll need is a broom and dustpan to sweep it away. Find out how to color the salt—and how to get it to pour just right—over at Buggy and Buddy.


Paint Rocks


Kids only need a little bit of paint for this outdoor art project, so you don't have to worry (as much) about spills. We love the story behind the idea of painting rocks, too!

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