Painting with Toy Vehicles! Fun and Easy Activity for Kids

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Pablo Picasso.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… We love encouraging our kids to be creative. Not just in the painting/drawing/making a rocket out of a shoe box kind of way but, more importantly, encouraging them to be creative in the way they think.

This is a great activity to show kids that many materials can have more than one purpose. It’s an opportunity to be creative in thinking about how to use materials differently. You don’t need paintbrushes to be able to paint!

It also involves a bit of mess which is always a win with our kids.

Child painting with vehicles - CreateMr 2 loved this activity. Covering the wheels in paint, rolling the cars on paper and seeing the tracks left behind, helping to wash the paint off the cars, he enjoyed the whole bit. It was interesting to see his reaction to the patterns created and the results of mixing the colours together.

As with any activity, set out the materials and see where the child goes with it. They might enjoy trying to keep the colours and vehicles separate. Or using one vehicle to roll through the different coloured paints and mixing them together. They might even leave the vehicles aside and look around to see what else they can dip in paint to make prints or patterns with. Just be sure to use items that are washable!

Child painting with vehicles - Create

Painting with Toy Vehicles

What you’ll need:

  • Washable paints (one or more colours)
  • Toy cars, trucks and/or trains (any toy with wheels that can be washed)
  • Paper
  • Shallow plates or containers (disposable plates work well)
  • Newspaper or washable mat
  • Paint smock (or old clothes)

Child painting with vehicles - CreateInstructions:

  • Prepare your work area by covering it with newspaper, a washable mat, or similar.
  • Place your paper on the work area.
  • Place shallow plates on the work area and add paint. Add one colour per plate.
  • Add vehicles! Begin with one vehicle per colour, but allow kids to mix vehicles and colours if they prefer.
  • Place toy vehicle on a plate with paint on it. Roll the vehicle back and forth until the wheels are covered in paint.
  • Roll the toy vehicle across the paper. The paint covered wheels will leave tracks across the paper!
  • Repeat the process with different toy vehicles and different coloured paints.
  • Allow finished painting to dry.
  • Admire your artwork!


  • Use a large sheet of paper, or tape sheets of paper together.
  • Ensure wheels are covered in a thin layer of paint. This will show the wheel marks more clearly than thick blobs of paint will.
  • Have a damp wash cloth or baby wipes handy for wiping paint off little hands.
  • At clean up time, fill a bowl with warm soapy water and let the kids use it as a ‘car wash’ to help clean the vehicles.
  • If using disposable plates, wash, dry and keep with your paints so they can be re-used for other painting activities.
  • If you want to make some vehicle art on a larger scale, take the fun outside. Use larger sandpit trucks and other vehicles and larger pieces of paper (or an old sheet) to paint on.
  • We used cars that had smooth wheels, so the results were lots of straight lines. Next time we’d add some trucks to the mix to see the patterns created with various tyre tread designs.


Creative Challenge: Put away the paintbrushes and bring out the toy cars, trucks and trains! Encourage your kids to create a piece of art with washable paints and toy vehicles. If you don’t have toy vehicles at your place, encourage your kids to think about what else they could dip in paint and use instead. The feet of toy dinosaurs? Potatoes cut in half? Toilet roll tubes? Milk bottle lids?

Question: Let me know if you try this activity in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. Did you use toy vehicles or did your kids come up with different ideas? I’d love to hear about it.


Activity inspired by Hands On As We Grow.

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