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Rhythm Painting

Source Institutions

    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

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Rhythm Painting

In this activity, early learners create paintings by making music and rhythm. Learners place paper in cans, add paint-soaked beans (or pebbles) and put the tops on. They dance to music and shake their cans. They remove the paper and repeat with different music and dancing (slow, fast, jerky, smooth). Learners describe their art and guess why it looks that way. Would dancing slow, fast, jumping or swaying make different art?

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 6

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Golf Balls, pebbles or beans
  • Wet Tempura Paint in three colors
  • Bowls
  • Spoons
  • 12 in x 18 in Construction Paper
  • Butcher Paper
  • Large Coffee Cans and Lids
  • Music


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Motion and Forces
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

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Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, OMSI, ©2004


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