Pointillism Dot Art – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Pointillism Dot Art

Learn a new art style! Use different circular objects to create dot paintings with your child.

Learning Goals

  • Be Curious
  • Come Up with Ideas and Try Them Out
  • Communicate Thinking

Materials Required

  • Sample images of pointillist art (Search for work by artists such as Georges Seurat or Paul Signac)
  • Cardstock
  • Pencils
  • Paint
  • Circular objects (e.g. corks, dowels, sticks, cups, wheels)
  • Digital pictures on cell phone or computer (optional)


  • Introduce your child to pointillism: a method in which artists use lots and lots of small dots to create images. This is the same way the screens on digital devices work today! The pixels on the screen are just like the dots in a pointillist painting. Show some samples and tell your child that they will make their own paintings using only dots.
  • Invite your child to experiment with the different objects to create paintings using only dots/circles/spots.
  • If you have digital pictures available on a computer or smartphone, try zooming in until you see the pixels. Discuss how the photos differ from their own paintings.

Extend the Activity

  • Using large white butcher paper, invite children to make a collaborative pointillist painting.
  • Invite children to gather their own circular materials from the area around them to use for painting dots.
  • Substitute stamp pads or dot stickers in place of paint.
  • Allow children to experiment with dot painting on 3D objects (e.g. a pumpkin, book covered in butcher paper, small bucket or ball).

Tips for Adults

  • Ask your child to look at their paintings from close up and then far away and discuss how the differences from each perspective. Is there a certain point where the picture becomes recognizable?
  • Encourage children to ask a lot of questions. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers. You can say, “That’s a great question. I don’t know. How could we find out?”

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