Planet Earth Paintings – Process Art for Kids

Looking for a fun Earth Day project to make with your kids?  Try these process art, marbled Planet Earth Paintings!  My kids had so much fun creating their little planetary masterpieces, and the finished art really looks like planet Earth from outer space.  The project is so simple to set up, and even little kids can create this really stunning art.  If you choose, your kids can even use the leftover shaving cream paint for messy play that is actually really easy to clean-up!  Art, science, and play all in one activity!

planet earth paintings

This post is part of the Wash & Learn series.

wash and learnAfter you’ve read our fun, head over to Bath Activities for Kids
and Train Up a Child to see their bath or shower time learning fun!

Planet Earth Paintings

Building Background Knowledge about Planet Earth

Before we began painting planet Earth, I found a video on YouTube so the kids could see what our planet looks like from Outer Space.  This video is long, but you can skip around to find lots of different things to talk about — the shape, the colors, the features. We talked about the white being clouds, the blue being water, and the green/brown being land.  We also talked about the shape of the Earth – a sphere!

Getting Ready to Paint

Materials Needed:

This activity can be done on a tray in your kitchen or in your classroom.  The directions I am going to give show the activity being done in the bath tub because it allows the children to enjoy the sensory activity in an environment where they are able to play and experiment more since it doesn’t matter if they get messy.  The bath tub is great because once the play is done, it’s easy to clean up the messy tub and the kids at the same time!  If you want to control the mess or if a bath tub isn’t a feasible option, a tray will definitely work.  Here’s an example of shaving cream painting on a tray that we’ve done before.

Setting Up

First, cut circles from blue card stock.  We used a lighter blue and a darker blue card stock to see which would turn out best.

To set up the painting area, simply spray shaving cream onto the bottom of the tub and have the kids smooth it over with their hands.  You want it to be fairly thick.

planet earth paintings

Next, squirt some green and white paint onto the shaving cream and gently swirl it around.  Be careful not to overly mix as you don’t want a single, solid color but rather swirls of color.

Process Art: Painting Planet Earth

Have the kids take a blue circle and lay it on the shaving cream paint.  Gently push it down all over.  

planet earth paintings

We usually let it sit for a few seconds and then carefully lift it up…

planet earth paintings

and lay it on the edge of the tub.  

planet earth paintings

Repeat for all the card stock circles you want to make.  

planet earth paintings

As needed, add more shaving cream to the mix, and re-swirl a bit.

Let the shaving cream painted circles sit on the side of the bath tub for several minutes so that the color has time to stain the paper.  

Use a bath squeegee or other scraper (i.e. back side of a butter knife, spatula) to carefully scrap the shaving cream paint from the paper.  I use a cloth to gently blot off any excess after scraping.  Set aside the paper so that it can fully dry.  

planet earth paintings

Once dry, if the paper curls, you can set it under a heavy book for a few minutes to get it to flatten out.

Messy Play

Once the painting is done, you can let your kids play with the leftover shaving cream paint if you choose.  My two used to barely entertain the thought of sticking their fingers into the shaving cream but after many experiences like this one, they now really enjoy messy play.

planet earth paintings

My two little leprechauns had a blast.  First they used the sensory material as body paint.  Then they found out they could make interesting patterns on the bottom of the tub by using their fingers to make swirls in the paint.

planet earth paintings

The best part is, when they are done, I simply turn on the water, give them a wash cloth, and they happily clean the tub.  Sometimes I let them take a bath afterwards, and sometimes a shower, depending on their level of messiness. 

We use our messy play swimsuits for projects like these.  They don’t usually stain, but it is just a precaution.

Our Finished Planet Earth Paintings

In total, we made 4 planet Earth paintings.  

planet earth paintings

Each one is unique, beautiful, and really amazingly Earth-like.  

planet earth paintings planet earth paintings
planet earth paintings planet earth paintings

I was hoping the finished work would look like Planet Earth as viewed from Outer Space, and I am really pleased that they turned out even better than I expected.

planet earth paintings

This is a great Earth Day project, an art project to go along with a science unit on the study of the Earth, or just something fun to do on a rainy day.  

planet earth paintings

Hope you have as much fun with these Planet Earth Paintings as we did!  

planet earth paintings

Now hop over to Bath Activities for Kids to see Balloon Experiments,
and Train Up a Child to see Compost Bin Sensory Play in their Wash & Learn posts!

See More Shaving Cream Painting Projects:

See More Wash and Learn Fun:

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Dyan says:

    They turned out beautiful!

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  • DNichols says:

    I love the Planet Earth painting. I will be using this in my Preschool classroom. Thanks.

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