Cactus Painting for Kids

Explore visual arts while practicing important fine motor skills with your preschoolers using this Cactus Painting for Kids. This quick and easy process art idea is perfect for teaching little learners about the Mojave Desert and cacti. You’re definitely not going to want to miss this adorable painting for kids activity!

collage of Cactus Painting images with text: Cactus Painting Process Art Painting for KidsThis week’s topic is the Mojave Desert and today we’re learning all about “pokey plants.” We’re also answering the question, “What do you think grows in the Mojave Desert?”

preschooler using fork and gold paint to make "pokey" spines on cactus painting for kidsThis post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if an item is purchased through one of these links.  For more information, please see my full disclosures.

A huge thanks to Experience Early Learning (formerly Mother Goose Time) for providing us with their Experience Preschool curriculum for free in exchange for sharing our honest and authentic stories resulting from our personal experiences. It’s been such a huge blessing to us! As always, my opinions on awesome stuff for little kids are 100% my own.

preschooler painting spines on cactus process art using fork and gold paintPreschoolers are naturally curious and learning about habitats such as the desert is a great way to encourage little learners to explore the world around them while also practicing important early skills.

preschooler using fork to paint spines on paper cactusCactus Painting

What you’ll need

  • Inspiration Photo
  • Blue Paper
  • Green Paper
  • Fork
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Nature Items

preschooler's cactus painting using cardstock and gold paint for cactus spinesHere’s how to do it

Set Up

  • Set out Inspiration Photo and any additional supplies.


  • What do you notice about the cactuses?
  • What shapes do you see in the cactus? How do different cactuses look unique?
  • What shapes can you cut from the green paper to create your cactus art?
  • How can you use the fork and paint to create spines on your cactus plant?


  • Does the child control the scissors and cut out shapes from the green paper?
  • Does he or she hold the fork and use it for painting?

preschooler's cactus painting on cardstock using gold paint and small stones for desert sandThis week, we learned that the Mojave desert is located in the southwest United States, which meant the perfect opportunity to get out our maps and learn more about geography.

While we were at it, we also did some research on what color cactus spines typically are. We learned they can be a variety of colors ranging from white to gray to pink.

We even found some wonderful pictures of green cacti with yellowish-brown spines that reminded us of the gold we used for our cactus process art.

preschooler's cactus painting for kidsDon’t forget to check back if you’re interested in seeing what we’re up to next week with our desert preschool theme from Experience Preschool!

collage of Cactus Painting images with text: Cactus Painting Process Art for Preschoolers