River Painting for Kids

Explore visual arts, practice fine motor skills, and learn about natural science with this River Painting for Kids process art. This engaging and hands-on painting for kids activity is perfect for your next water thematic study.

collage of River Painting images with text: River Painting Process Art Painting for KidsThis week is all about Down the River with our newest preschool curriculum kit. We’re answering the question, “What might you find in a river?” And while we’re at it, we’re making some adorable river-themed process art too!

preschoolers gluing small stones onto cardstockDid you know that rivers are important because they give us food, means of transportation, and drinking water? Not only that, but rivers can be changed by people, weather, and animals.

preschooler painting blue cellophaneThis 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 making river art using paint on blue cellophaneYour preschool-aged learners will love exploring natural and earth science while learning about rivers with this engaging and hands-on painting activity for kids.

preschooler painting blue cellophane to make river artIf you’ve been around for a while, then you know we never miss an opportunity to paint. And of course, these invitation to create activities are versatile enough that we can add paint to just about any of them.

We definitely love that these process art activities encourage lots of important early learning concepts such as creative thinking, problem-solving, and even fine motor skills.

preschooler making river process art using paint on cardstockToday the kiddos chose lots of nature-inspired colors to make their river collages. They talked about using green and brown to make trees, gray for rocks, and various shades of blue for water.

preschooler using paint to make river process artRiver Painting

What you’ll need

  • Inspiration Photo
  • Background Paper
  • Cellophane
  • Glue
  • Nature Items
  • Markers
  • Scissors

preschooler using green paint to make trees on river artHere’s how to do it

Set Up

  • Set out the Inspiration Photo and any additional materials.


  • What do you notice about the photo?
  • How does a river flow through the earth?
  • What will you use to make your river?
  • Will your river be straight or curvy?
  • What might you see in a river or on the sides of a river?


  • What choices does the child make throughout the artistic process?
  • Does he say what his plan is before making his river?

This river painting activity was a great way to get started with our new thematic study for May. Both the little guy and baby girl had a wonderful time creating their own river collage process art.

preschooler's river paintingDon’t forget to check back if you’re interested in seeing what we’re up to next week with our Bubbles, Boats, and Floats preschool theme from Experience Preschool!

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