First Grade Scarecrows…two ways!

Have you ever wanted to experiment with different supplies with the same project? Of course you have! You are an art teacher! I wanted to add a new spin on my favorite scarecrow collage.
For one school, I used the standard watercolor paint technique but for the other, I used tempera paint outlined in black. I knew from past experience that using watercolor paper and liquid watercolor paints is by far the easiest method of the two, and my experiment has not changed that fact. But I love how vibrant the farm looks with tempera paint.
For additional instructions, check out my
Not-So-Scary Scarecrow Watercolor Painting and Collage art lesson.

To replace the transparent watercolors in the original lesson, I mixed up a selection of bright tempera paints. The children started the same way…making the lines that will become the fields, clouds and sun, but instead of washing paint over the surface, they painted the resulting shapes with tempera. Yellow for the sun, browns, oranges and greens for the fields and blue for the sky. After the kids were finished, the only white space on the paper were the clouds.
Now comes the hard part: outlining with a small brush dipped in black paint.
This is not easy for chubby little hands, so don’t expect perfection. In fact, I love the lines they create. An alternative to the black paint is to use a thick black oil pastel. It’s less messy but does require an extra step: time for the background to dry.

Set aside the background and begin making the scarecrow. I use templates that I created from card stock, but you can have the children free draw onto printed craft paper. It’s up to you. But if the children free draw, be prepared for teensy weensy pants and shirts. So cute, but well…you decide.
After the kids cut out a hat, head, pants and a shirt, they glue the pieces together.Then add patches, small buttons and raffia or yellow paper for straw.


  1. sara's art house says:

    Love the scarecrows!!

  2. Erika says:

    Love your site! I am a volunteer at a missionary school and I teach all the elementry art classes. Your blog is awesome! Thanks for sharing : )

  3. Dawn says:

    Wow, just found this site and love it! I teach first grade and always struggle to find “real art” rather than cut and paste activities. One change I made on this scarecrow actvity, rather than black paint I had the children use a black crayon to draw the lines reminding them to press hard. It worked great because they didn’t have to worry about the black paint smearing and they could still see the lines. We painted one day and made the scarecrows another day.
    Keep the ideas coming….I am excited to use your ideas.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Leslie says:

    Just did these today with my second graders and they are priceless!

  5. Ann Hestand says:

    I did this project as a substitute teacher with a kindergarten class. We drew the background as a whole class using black crayons. The children also made their scarecrows as a whole class. We painted the backgrounds in small groups of 3-4 children. The finished products are delightful!

  6. says:

    I absolutely love your art lessons. The kids think they are great and I love the variations that you offer. Really helps get me thinking when I’m stuck and need some fresh ideas for lessons! Can’t wait to try this one out! Do you have a preferred template for the scarecrows. I’m thinking of having one for my younger kiddo’s.

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About Patty

Welcome to DSS. I'm an art teacher to 400 elementary kids in Goleta, California. This is where you will find a library of art lessons, handy PDF lesson plans and resources to make teaching art to kids a whole lot easier.
Enjoy your stay!


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