Outdoor Name Art Painting Activity for Kids – Busy Toddler

Outdoor Name Art Painting Activity for Kids - Busy Toddler


Have some budding artists? This outdoor name art is a fun change of pace, and a perfect quick summer activity when you need to refocus kid energy. In just minutes, you can have kids outside and painting away.

Related: Looking for other outdoor activities for kids – try my list of favorites.

There’s a reason to try outdoor name art

Kids painting does not always mean at the table. It doesn’t have to always mean on a white piece of paper. And it really doesn’t need to be a giant mess.

That’s where this giant name activity comes into play.

Painting with kids can sometimes feel like herding paint colored cats who don’t even paint for more than 10 seconds. So I took the painting outside and made it giant – hoping for a change.

And what a CHANGE IT WAS.

Maybe it’s just my kids, but painting is sometimes a quick activity. Don’t get me wrong, I love the self-expression and the chance to explore a new medium and all that good process art jazz, BUT it would be nice if they PLAYED for as long as I’m going to set up / clean up.

Wouldn’t it be an amazing return of investment to have them paint for LONGER than I worked?

That’s exactly what happened with this outdoor name art.

Two kids (2 and 4) standing at large pieces of paper with their names drawn on them beginning to paint.

The materials list:

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Optional: Tape. I hung this on my fence because that’s what works best for photos. You don’t have to do that. If you do, make sure to use tape that both holds the paper AND is safe for your fence.

Two kids (2 and 4) painting large pieces of paper with their names drawn on them.

How to set up outdoor name art

I rolled out the Kraft paper pretty big. If you don’t have Kraft paper – no worries! Use a cardboard box instead. The goal is a larger than normal canvas.

In my best bubble letters, I wrote their names as big and clear as possible.

Remember that kids do not care how their name looks – your bubble letters will be great. Kids just want to see their name in giant

I grabbed my muffin tin and filled that with washable paint. I always use a muffin tin when painting with kids. It’s the perfect space and also keeps paint well separated.

A muffin tin filled with paint and brushes.

Why name activities with kids are important

Names are important for kids. This often the first word they read and it’s usually some of the often the first letters they’ll memorize.

Kids do not need to have a mastering of spelling, reading, or evening printing their name for this painting project. Instead, look at this as an exposure to letters and written language. It’s not about mastery here: it’s about exposing kids to their name in print and the letters that create that name.

Activities with names are powerful and meaningful for kids – they have instant ownership and buy in.

RELATED: Looking for more ‘name’ themed activities? Check these out!

Two kids (2 and 4) painting large pieces of paper with their names drawn on them.

How did this activity last?

Twenty minutes.

That is a massive success and a huge win for our family.

I was able to sit back and enjoy their process, watch them work, and do a little sittervising of the whole activity.

Plus – they were really proud of their work at the end because painting their name was such a personal activity.

A child sits in grass choosing a new paint color. Paint is in a muffin tin. Child's name is written on a brown paper canvas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to do this activity on a fence?

Goodness NO! I chose to do this activity on the fence because I’m a kids activity blogger and it makes for a better photo. You find a spot that works for your family. Setting the project on the ground is just as much fun.

How old do kids need to be for painting activities?

It’s all about stages over ages on this one. Some kids will enjoy painting activities as toddlers. Some will enjoy painting activities when they’re older. Use non-toxic washable paint, and watch for young children (especially under age 2) who may taste test the paint. Generally speaking, kids are pretty quick to realize that while it looks delicious: paint tastes terrible.

What if my child refuses the activity?

It’s hard when we work to set up a project and kids reject it or walk away. My philosophy: kids are like cats. It often needs to be on their terms. I typically set up activities and walk away. I leave them out all day for kids to choose to go to and work at their own speed.

Susie Allison, M. Ed

Owner, Creator

Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 1.9 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.


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