Winter Bird Art Lesson

Lois Ehlert’s book, Snowballs, is yet another inspiring book for  elementary school art lessons. Instead of the featured snowmen, I gravitated towards the wonderful birds in birch trees. I created bird templates before for my “Pie in the Sky” art lesson and was excited to use them again.

For those of you who don’t like templates, please don’t feel you must use them for this project. It’s just as easy to have children draw their birds. I do have many second graders who are considered “low” so the templates really helps their fine-motor skills plus it keeps them on par with other children. They do notice these little things and they feel quite empowered with their handsome cut-out birds.


Colored 9″ x 12′ background paper, black & white oil pastels, 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper, liquid watercolors, table salt, strips of white drawing paper, black tempera paint, cardboard rectangles (cut from tagboard).

Making the Bird

Making the birch trees

Second grade students love Lois Ehlert!

Make life a bit easier and download a full lesson plan in the DSS Shop and in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

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  1. hope says:

    i like the bright yellow backgrounds – a fresh approach to the birch tree painting! lois ehlert has the best books! thanks for sharing.

  2. Mary says:

    I love this lesson Patty! I like the different color backgrounds against the patterned birds. I will definitely try this sometime!

  3. Megan Swartz says:

    What a beautiful project! I love it. I can see tie ins with artist, Charley Harper. Very cool ideas…thanks once again for sharing.


  4. [...] breath there was also mentioned of snow in the forecast, but the robins are starting to return.  Deep Space Sparkle has a great winter bird lesson for kids. (Also fun for adults who are kids at heart) Maybe we can [...]

  5. Naomi says:

    Your site is just such a treat and inspiration on so many levels—thank you so much!!!

  6. [...] It was an awesome experience watching such young children create, challenge and explore.  Credit is given to this site for their fantastic idea.  This activity would typically be geared toward a grade four, five or six class…but, [...]

  7. Angie says:

    Did the students draw their own bird shapes? Or did you have a pre-made stencil made for them? By the way… Thank you so very much for sharing your classroom. You have kept me inspired and made life a little easier for my first year teaching. I’m hoping to start my own blog one day.

  8. Kim Hyman says:

    Just posted my interpretation of this project on to my NEW blog. Love this and also tried it with second grades. We put on blue paper and then black so we could enlarge the project area. I also let them use hole punches to create snow which they place on dots of glue. Good eye-hand coordination. They turned out lovely.

  9. [...] graders created beautiful winter themed artwork inspired by This Project at Students began by creating “magic paper.” We drew a line down [...]

  10. [...] for the winter break, they made these beautiful watercolor winter bird posters. I got the idea from here, but tweaked it a bit using my own bird template and adding a 3D element to the design using pieces [...]

  11. [...] when it comes to art activities, and Deep Space Sparkle is my current go-to resource.  This is the lesson plan/activity I used, plus I purchased this lesson plan bundle for the bird templates.  (I probably could’ve come [...]

  12. Mary says:


  13. artwithmsk says:

    I did this project with my 2nd graders and it was a huge hit! Teachers all over the school commented on how beautiful the artwork was. Thanks for the great idea!

  14. [...] one with this anna maria horner tuto­r­ial? 4.  A lovely win­ter bird art les­son for kids on Deep Space Sparkle 5.  Bread with more grams of nat­ural fiber than added sugar on word of [...]

  15. Vix kids says:

    Wow I’m so happy I came across your site. Beautiful work, and so generously shared. Thankyou.we are adapting this to work with Luke 12:24 for our bible class. I haven’t come across the book you are referencing, but it reminds me a little of Ezra jack Keats who I have noticed you’ve also used. Love those books too. I’ll be including link info to you as I’m sure every parent will be asking! Blessings.

  16. Roxanne Anderson says:

    Very nice!

  17. tricia says:

    Hi Patty,

    these are really beautiful! Did you put the templates for the birds on line please? I cant find them,



  18. [...] year I like to do a birch tree collage project. I’ve done variations of this project but decided I would try a woodland creature instead of a bird. I created a few templates, which [...]

  19. [...] A winter bird art lesson [...]

  20. [...] Graders did an amazing job creating snowbird collages. The project is based on a project over at Deep Space Sparkle. We started off reading Snowballs by Lois Elhert. Students noticed the collage and overlapping [...]

  21. Hello,
    I am an artist and also art teacher for children in France, I am very happy to look at your website, where I can find many ideas, easily done and whith a few materials.
    This one is so cute and impressive!
    Thank you.

  22. Anne says:

    In step 5 you say “use paper strips, and then it says use cardboard for the trees”. Could you explain this.

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Yes. Cut the white paper strips first so you have the trees cut out before you start painting the black texture with the cardboard/black paint onto the white strips.
      Does this help?

  23. Loraine Edmeston says:

    Beautiful and so inspiring. Thanks

  24. Kristen says:

    I love this! I’ve made birds with my daughter before, but this is another fun use of the same template. She also used the template with scrapbook papers to make a birthday card. Thanks so much for the fun ideas.

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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