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Marble Painting

In this activity, students practice their coordination and observation skills and produce paintings using only marbles, paint, and tilting a tray.

Sometimes things roll so fast, it's hard to see exactly where they go or what they do! But we can use paint to record where something rolls.

Round the Circle: printable guide.

These activities are part of Science World’s Big Science For Little Hands program. They were developed and tested with preschool and kindergarten educators.


  • Move a marble and produce artwork using only tilting motions.


  • Per Student:
    liquid tempera paint
    marble or small ball
    shallow box (use a rectangular cake pan, or cut the back off a cereal box)
    small bowl (for paint; can share with table of students)

Key Questions

  • Where did the marble go?
  • How do you know where it went?
  • Can you make a curved line?
  • Can you get the marble to the middle of the paper?
  • Can you move the marble in a circle? Does it make a circle in the paint?

What To Do

  1. Cut paper to fit the bottom of the box. (Teacher Tip: You may wish to pre-cut the paper, or, depending on ability, draw lines where you want students to cut.)
  2. Pour a little bit of paint into the small bowl. Drop a marble into the paint.
  3. Scoop the marble out of the paint with your spoon and drop it into the box with the paper.
  4. Tip the box to roll the marble around.


  • Use more than one colour of paint.
  • Roll more than one marble at a time.
  • Use small balls with textured surfaces instead of marbles.
  • Use a rock dipped in paint instead of a marble.
  • Start with a dry marble and put a blob of paint on the paper. Challenge students to roll their marble through the paint.Use a bigger tray and have two students work together to steer the marble.
  • Use toys with wheels to make wheel tracks in paint, play-dough, or sand.