Blow Painting

small germ Here is one of those easy craft activities for kids that uses the technique of blow painting to bring the world of micro-organisms to life!

At a certain age, usually around the threes to fours, I find that Little Sparks become obsessed by the notion of ‘germs’.  I guess this partly arises from their recent graduation from nappies and the urgency with which parents suddenly try to drill the notion of ‘hand washing’ into their children.  In fact, I’ve often used this activity so that Little Sparks can make ‘reminder’ posters for the bathroom door!

It occurs to me that we frequently ask Little Sparks to believe in things they cannot see – Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, Angels – to name but a few, quickly spring to mind.  Regardless of whether we actually believe such things exist there is no shortage of visual representations of them.  Now ask your Little Sparks what they think a germ looks like!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the activities of micro-organisms are more essential to life on earth than The Tooth Fairy and that we owe it to our Little Sparks to investigate this invisible world a little further.  And here at Raising Sparks we see no reason why three year olds shouldn’t be using words like ‘micro-organism’.  Under the microscope the world of micro-organisms is a beautiful and fascinating place.  From deadly viruses to friendly bacteria, the weird and wonderful shapes are utterly captivating. Before starting this craft activity why don’t you see if you can find images of germs under the microscope to use as inspiration?

For this craft activity you will need:

  • Non-toxic paint heavily watered down.
  • Plain paper
  • Straws – piercing these with a pin near the top should help prevent Little Sparks from drinking paint!
  • A medicine dropper is useful but not essential!
  • Felt tips
  • Googly eyes – you might like to add other collage materials such as pom-poms for a 3D effect.

What to do:

Drop small blobs of liquid paint onto your paper.  Little Sparks really enjoy using medicine droppers to do this and it certainly refines fine motor skills.  Now use the straws to blow the blobs of paint out in all directions.  Leave your blow paintings to dry.  Once dry stick on the googly eyes and draw in features using the felt-tips.  We always add a few smiley faces as well as the more menacing ones as a reminder that some bacteria are friendly!

germ blow paint

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie S. September 24, 2011 at 5:32 am

I love this idea! I’m going to have to try it with my daughter.
Debbie S. recently posted..Beware of the Frog by William BeeMy ComLuv Profile


Shauna October 16, 2011 at 4:37 am

What a fun and clever craft. I can’t wait to use this idea with my children.
Thanks for sharing,
Shauna recently posted..Ghost Theme Art Activities, Book Suggestions, and Handwriting PrintablesMy ComLuv Profile


Mandy October 17, 2011 at 7:36 am

Thanks Shauna, hope you and the kids have fun with it!


Dawn October 27, 2011 at 1:02 am

Going to try this activity with my 1st grade class tomorrow….super excited!


Mandy October 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

Wow, that’s a lot of germs! Hope you all have fun with it Dawn.


Brooke (siayla) November 7, 2011 at 5:26 am

LOVE these!!!! They are SIMPLY wonderful!


Brooke (siayla) February 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Just shared this idea here I still think they are amazing!


Meridith November 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

My 3 year old will love doing this! Painting, straws and googly eyes all in one activity…you can’t go wrong! :)


Mandy November 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

Quite right Meridith, the worst that can happen is a huge mess!!!


Amanda November 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Just stopping by to let you know that I have featured your project on Fun Family Crafts! You can see it here

If you have other kid friendly crafts, I’d love it if you would submit them :) If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above.


Mandy November 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

Wow! That’s great Amanda, thanks for featuring us!


mansi December 2, 2011 at 3:20 am

hey…super fun idea…my students will love it!


Mandy December 2, 2011 at 7:44 am

Thanks Mansi, we hope they do!


Paxton February 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm

What a great idea! I love the little googly eyes! Brilliant!


Mandy February 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

What did we do before googly eyes?!!!


Lindsey Whitney February 4, 2012 at 12:06 am

Very cute!!


Senitra April 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Do you think this project would work on a canvas? If so what type of paint would you recommend?


Mandy April 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

We’ve never tried it on canvas. Obviously the surface you use must not be too absorbent otherwise the paint will dry in before you get a chance to blow it. I guess it’s a case of give it a try and see what happens! We wish you luck with your artistic endevours.


Sixty Second Parent April 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

Wow – what a cute idea.


Brenda May 2, 2012 at 11:26 pm

WOW-Luv it! I work with 3 and 4 year olds, and crafts are my thing, thank you.


Mandy May 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Hope you and the kids have lots of fun with this. Thanks for stopping by Brenda!


jen@Plain Vanilla Mom May 22, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hi there! Just found you and wanted to say hi. What a cute idea! Pinning this for sure! Looking forward to exploring your blog further. It looks fantastic. You have lots of great ideas :) Would love it if you would stop by and say hi to us too!


Mandy May 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

Hi Jen, glad you like the site, thanks for stopping by!


mandy lance May 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm

are you on pinterest? id love to follow you


Mandy June 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Hi Mandy – we’re not there but maybe we will consider it! Thanks for stopping by.


Jennifer July 7, 2012 at 1:53 am

Help! I organize aplaygroup and want to do this as a craft… I just tried it and only eded up with blobs :( What am I missing??


Mandy July 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Are you using paper that is too absorbent? The paint may be sinking in before you get a chance to blow out in different directions. Try paper with a slightly more glossy surface. Hope this helps!


S. Amon February 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Another great idea (as an elementary art teacher) as a color mixing lesson! Just use the primary colors and create the secondary and even tertiary …… focus on complementary colors and what happens when they mix …. many possibilities!


Mandy February 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Thanks for adding your great ideas!


Jennie June 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Hi fabulous idea just curious if you had a paint to water rationthatbu used when mixing them?


Mandy June 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Hi Jennie. We can’t say that we’ve ever measured this out, but you’re pretty much aiming for a consistency only slightly thicker than water, otherwise it is too difficult for Little Sparks to blow in all directions. Hope this helps!


Jo Nalls July 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm

We made these today in our Summer Playgroup. We used paint made from Koolaide. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE making these and they love the smelly paint. Just empty an unsweetened envelope into a little dish and add about a quarter to a half cup water. Sooo much fun!!


Mandy July 23, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Thanks for your feedback Jo and offering such a great idea for extending and developing the activity. We’re so glad you all had so much fun!


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