Art With Kids – Rubbings – Exploring surfaces


As you know there is always an “outcome” to crafts I share with you. Either we are making wrapping paper or something to play with or we are exploring and artists. But there are many things we do that don’t always “make it” to the blog, but which I believe are valid activities in their own right and things that nurture creativity and exploration.

So today’s “simple” Art with Kids activity is all about “Rubbings”.

Rubbings are often classes as one of the oldest forms of “print making” – by rubbing a soft pencil or crayons over a surface and reproducing the raised elements of that surface you are reproducing an accurate “print” of it.

To my children it was like MAGIC.

We started off with the oh so classic “leaf rubbings” and then went outside to explore what textures and surfaces we could find.

art with kids

Technique & tools

There is a technique to rubbing – it is best to work on a flat surface with a flat crayon of sorts – a normal crayon with all the paper peeled off and rubbed along its side will work too. We had wonderful crayon blocks which are excellent. And I show the children how to carefully pull it across the page. They soon got the hang of it. I love that Red Ted is holding the paper for his sister here.

If you cannot get hold of flat crayons, why not try making your own out of old broken crayon bits? A simple “How to” to follow ASAP.

If you are using a pencil, it is good to have a soft pencil and to run it across the surface at and angle, you don’t want just the point going over the surfaces, as it will create lines.

art with kids discovering

The kids ADORED exploring outdoors. We found the most fun were the metal covers of man holes or our “Water” access holes. Brick looked interesting too, but wasn’t regular enough to grab their attention.  They just wanted to keep going and try bark and cars and walls and everything.

A happy hour spent doing nothing specificially, except exploring a technique and discovering! We covered about 20 sheets of (recycled office) paper.

We may cut some of the patterns out at some point and do a collage. Then again we may not. This is Art with Kids for the sake of doing it!

More from “Art for Kids”


Nurture Cutting Skills

Develop Imagination

Simple Printing Skills