Preschool Fine Motor Art: Colored Waterfalls


We love to use our pipettes for preschool fine motor art! Using pipettes strengthens the pincer grasp, important for future writing skills. In this activity, we set the paper vertically so that the paint could drip down the paper, creating a waterfall effect. It was a huge hit with our preschoolers!

fine motor art in preschool


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Preschool Fine Motor Art


What you will need:

There are many different ways you could attach the paper horizontally. We use acrylic sign holders.


fine motor art in preschool


The process:

  • Pour the tempera paint into the containers and thin with a bit of water.
  • Add the pipettes to the containers.
  • Place the acrylic stand(s) on the table.
  • Attach a sheet of paper to each acrylic stand with some sort of clip.

Note: We placed a tray under the acrylic stand and then a paper towel on top of the tray to catch all the drips.


fine motor art in preschool


Each and every time we use pipettes, the children are fascinated how they can suction the paint in and out.


fine motor art in preschool


It takes a bit of practice using the pipettes, but once it’s mastered, the children love it!

fine motor art in preschool


Working on a vertical surface puts the wrist into an extended position. (You can read more about the benefits of working on a vertical surface here.)


fine motor art in preschool



fine motor art in preschool

fine motor art in preschool


What is fun about this activity is how the paint travels down the paper. You can see here why we place paper towel under the acrylic sign holder!

fine motor art in preschool


The colors merge as they flow down the paper.


fine motor art in preschool

Colorful waterfalls!

preschool watercolor art

Looking for more fine motor ideas?

Colored Waterfalls - Fine Motor Art for Kids


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

About Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper is the founder of Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a website full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers. She has been teaching this age group for over 15 years and loves to share her passion with teachers, parents, grandparents, and anyone with young children in their lives.


  1. Rachel @I Heart Crafty Things says:

    Ahhh, this is so wonderful Sheryl! My daughter loves using those pipettes to transfer water from container to container so she is going to be in love with this! Thank you for another amazing idea! 🙂

  2. Sheryl, I work at an American preschool in Thailand. What suggestions do you have for making a vertical surface to do this project? I would love some ideas so that we could do this projects with our 3 and 4 year olds. (I am sure that we don’t have those acrylic stands.) Thanks for any advice!

    • Hi Melanie – I’ve seen them made with cardboard. Cut 2 squares the same side and use strong tape where they connect at the top (creating an upside down “V). I’ve also seen them made with pizza boxes. Hope this helps!

  3. My first year teaching and I need to purchase on the cheap to stock my room with supplies for twelve 3 year olds. Where do I get the pipettes and is this activity done one at a time? Are the other children watching as they wait their turn or do you have a separate activity for them?

    • Hi Cindy – in the post I list the supplies needed. Click on “pipettes” and it will take you to the source of where they can be purchased. We do this activity during centers time, so children can work at this activity any time during that hour. We had 6 spots available. If all spots were taken, the other children worked in other areas of the room and came over when a spot opened up.

  4. I teach a preschool class with children with autism and I love this idea. I am always looking for ways to incorporate fne motor into everything that we do since majority of my students struggle with that area. Also, after I do a painting exercise like the one listed, I tie it in with the spin art painting app on my i pad. I have the children use a stylus to select their desired paint colors to practice their pincer grasp. This is a great idea and I can’t wait to incorporate this in my class!

  5. Love this idea! Thanks for all the creative ideas you give us!