This simple activity has become an after school staple for us ever since I saw it on @themakermum on Instagram. It’s a nice mental exercise that also includes a level of focus that is calming and almost meditative for my daughter after a crazy day at school. All you do is shape half an image made out of playdough, then have your child finish the other half. Sometimes before I pick up my daughter from school, I’ll set this up and lay a damp paper towel over the top so it doesn’t dry out before she gets to it.
The possibilities are really limitless and you can make whatever image your child is interested in, or stick with seasonal ones, like for Christmas or Halloween.
Create beautiful and unique Earth Day spin art with your kids, while also learning about different environments on our planet. This project gives a twist to typical spin-art by adding glue at the end, which is then used to affix sand, dirt, and baking soda to give your Earths an intriguing texture and to spark conversation about the different environments on Earth!
Cut paper to the size of your spin-art box and affix to the spinner
Prepare green and blue paint to your liking. You can also experiment with adding a little water to thin the paints and see what different effects you get.
While spinning, drop, pour, or drip paint onto the paper.
When you’re happy with the paint portion, squeeze about a teaspoon of glue right in the center of the spinning paper, then turn off the machine.
Sprinkle sand where you want to create a desert, dirt where you want to create a continent with fertile land, and baking soda on where you want frozen tundra.
Shake off excess, let dry, and admire your work!
My four year old really enjoyed this whole process and made six spin-art Earths in one sitting. We discussed where on (actual) Earth exists deserts, temperate and tropical forests, and tundra, some of the animals that live in those environments, and what it’s like to live in each.
We also made our own spin-art box together, which added a lot to the experience for her. If you’re interested, check out our DIY spin-art box here!
Warning: Spinning cardboard or paper can cut you, be careful. When working with motors and batteries, follow all directions as outlined by the supplier to ensure your are using their product correctly and safely.
Cut off the flaps of the cardboard box, trace and cut a large circle from one of them, marking the center of the circle.
Set up your circuit with the motor, battery and switch according to the motor’s directions (i.e. Make sure you are using the right battery for the motor). If you don’t have a switch you can connect and disconnect the battery to turn it on and off.
Mount the motor in the center at the bottom of the box with the motor shaft facing up. Depending on your motor’s casing, it may need to be mounted from the sides as opposed to the bottom because sometimes the back end of the shaft is exposed and will create friction on the box when running. This may be challenging, but it is exactly why you are making your spin-art box with your child instead of buying it- problem solving and creativity. We’ve done this several times and each time we try to think of a new way to mount it, including recycled Styrofoam blocks, a toilet paper roll, or one of the other flaps from the box.
Poke a hole in the center of the cardboard circle you cut and set it on top of the motor shaft.
Place a piece of duct tape over the shaft, pinch so it sticks to the shaft, then flatten the rest onto the cardboard.
Test your set up, making adjustments if necessary.
Cut your paper so it fits into the box, if necessary, then gently tape it to the spin platform.
If you’re using poster paint or acrylics, water them down a little so they are more fluid.
Turn on your contraption and squeeze paint as it spins!
Creating your own toys with your children fosters creative thinking, independence, and pride in one’s work. It also helps reduce waste and clutter in your home. Once you are done playing, you can dismantle your spin-art box, and reuse the motor and battery in many ways. Then, if you want to do spin-art at another time, set it up again!
Here are some projects from our site where you can reuse the motor: