we help adults teach art to kids

Kindergarten Art Lessons

Sea Turtles Drawing & Painting Lesson

Sea Turtles Drawing & Painting Lesson

By on Mar 2, 2015 | 3 comments

This sea turtle art project was inspired by this Under-the-Sea Chalk Lesson. To keep the project manageable for first graders, I used just one sea creature–turtles– but switched up mediums. My first graders used oil pastels and cake/puck tempera paints to create these beautiful sea turtles. Download this Sea Turtle Drawing Handout. This is what you’ll need: 12″ x 18″ white sulfite paper Cake or Puck Tempera Paint Black Oil pastel White School Glue, Brush and Glitter (optional) Drawing the Turtle You can use the handout linked above or show a few pictures of sea turtles on the white board. I offered my students both a handout and some drawing instruction. We talked about what they could include in the background of their pictures. I told a story of how I saw sea turtles while snorkeling in Maui. I noticed that the turtles loved to hide under the huge rocks and swim amongst the plants. We added a few rocks, some seaweed and a few other fish. Painting the Turtle Once the children painted the ocean color on the background, I asked them to paint the turtle. Remind the children to pick a color other than the background so the turtle will stand out. Many kids used lots of paint colors in their turtles, while others created a more subdued palette. To add a special touch, we brushed glue on a few areas and sprinkled with glitter. I know. You don’t need this but we had a few extra moments and the glitter was just sitting there....

Read More

Winter Art Projects for Grades K-2

Winter Art Projects for Grades K-2

By on Jan 13, 2015 | 6 comments

Winter in our Southern California school last a few short weeks and it’s no coincidence that these weeks fall just before the Christmas break. This is the time we talk about snow–and ask kids to raise their hands if they’ve ever seen it for real. This is the time we bring out the snowmen lessons and maybe a few holiday-themed activities. And better yet, this is the time I set up a “snow” table and glitter stations. The three lessons in this Winter-Themed package are perfect for the kids in Kinder through third grade.I say second grade on the cover but I’ve included tips to make the lessons more challenging for older kids.  Lots of cutting, pasting, painting, drawing, gluing and splatter painting. Ahhhhh….I just love winter! Here are the lessons: Snowy Forest: This lesson was adapted from my Here, Near and Far Winter Trees of years past. This lesson is almost perfect in my opinion but to increase the difficulty level just a wee bit for my budding first grade artists, I added a cozy cabin. The idea is to identify objects in the front of the painting and objects in the distance. It focuses on overlapping and perspective and encourages some serious problem solving when symmetrical trees don’t come out as planned. Winter Cardinal: I have a thing for cardinals lately and couldn’t wait to try this simple lesson with my students. We used a big round container to make our bodies but observational drawing is highly encouraged. The kids drew wings, beaks, tails and other decorative elements to add to their winter cardinal. My favorite part is the wispy winter background. Winter Perspective Trees: Teaching perspective is hard. I’m always looking for ways to engage students with this often confusing subject. This was a fun lesson as it encouraged kids to think of drawing a tree form an entirely different perspective. And of course, we added the bird of the week and snow. Here’s a peek inside…....

Read More

Chicken Little & Henny Penny Art Project

Chicken Little & Henny Penny Art Project

By on Jan 5, 2015 | 6 comments

Chicken Little is a folk tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. Those who study tales in school may have already found ways to incorporate this character into the art room but if you haven’t, here is my version… After reading Ed and Rebecca Emberley’s version, the children identified the various colors and shapes in the illustrations of both Chicken Little and Henny Penny. I love this version as the illustrations are colorful, bright and slightly random. Easy for kids to identify with. The first step…well, it’s really the second step but I’ll get to that in a minute…is to paint the background. You can keep this super simple by just using a colored piece of paper (perhaps a turquoise 12″ x 18″ piece of sulphite paper) or you can use white paper and paint a background. This is what I chose to do with my Kinders. This gives me a chance to introduce tints by placing both white and blue in a paint palette and showing how to double-load brushes to achieve a soft blue or pastel. I showed the kids how to paint a blue sky then add clouds. It’s best to let the blue sky dry a bit before attempting to add white clouds as the colors will just mix together. Waiting is hard for Kinders so I told them to paint the sky first, then paint the grass green and by the time they finish the grass, the blue sky would be ready for clouds. To make clouds, clean brush, wipe away excess water on the paper placemat then dip into a puddle of white, goopy paint. Apply in dabs and blots until you have clouds. After creating the background, its time to create a chicken. My Kinders created painted paper for their chickens and this is really the first step to this project. I always do a painted paper project at the beginning of the school year with Kinders so this project is for that purpose. But if you don’t want to commit to the mess of painted paper (and it is really messy) you can use a color paper scraps. In all honesty, the project would have been a whole lot easier if...

Read More

Painted Pears Still Life

Painted Pears Still Life

By on Dec 15, 2014 | 6 comments

Are you in the mood for some warm weather colors? I thought so.  Although I LOVE the holiday colors and winter art projects, sometimes you need a change of scenery. My little Kinders created these amazing pear paintings in the fall using pre-mixed colors and inspiration from various artists. I researched pear still-life paintings and found a lovely Cézanne, a Van Gogh and a few pieces from new artists. I placed a color photocopy of the pear paintings on the white board and asked what colors the children saw in each painting. We saw pink, red, turquoise, gold, yellow, green, black, brown and even some muddy grey. Then we looked at the shape of a pear starting with the big round bottom and moving up to the thin stem. The composition was the most fun to talk about. The selected artist paintings all offered various compositions and color opportunities for my young group. We noticed that one painting had a single pear while another painting had many pears piled on top of one another. This type of discussion is great to have as it really helps a child reflect on his own work and empowers him to make choices. Which, for my first group of Kinders, is what I offered. There are two ways to approach this lesson and I will talk about both ways and how the children responded to each set of instructions. But first, you’ll need to gather some supplies: 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper Yellow or any light colored oil pastel or crayon Yellow/golden liquid tempera paint (mix yellow tempera with a bit of white and a touch of orange paint. Mix) Reddish-orange paint (mix red tempera with a touch of orange and a bit of white. Mix) Lime green paint (Mix green tempera paint with lots of white and a bit of yellow) White tempera paint Medium round paint brushes and water Black oil pastel For my first class I was eager to see how the children processed the discussion part of the lesson. How many pears would they choose to draw? What colors would they use? I began the lesson by showing the children how to draw a circle for the bottom of...

Read More

Colorwheel Flowers Art Lesson

Colorwheel Flowers Art Lesson

By on Oct 21, 2014 | 1 comment

These happy flowers were a perfect introduction to art for my Kinders. Drawing with pastels, painting with puck tempera and creating dots, lines and patterns with black and white paint covered many art standard basics. Here’s what we did: Using a black oil pastel on large paper (18″ x 24″), Kinders drew a circle in the middle of the paper. Then, they drew a larger circle around the first circle. The next circle got a bit wobbly and then the final circle had some bumps or wiggles. It was fun seeing what kind of line the kids made for their final or outsides line. Many didn’t associate the concentric circles with a flower so the lines were varied. The thing I love about painting with Kinders is that you know they can’t paint inside the lines. It just isn’t possible at this stage so expectations are based on creating a happy experience and not perfect results. I showed the kids how to paint the colors of the rainbow with one Kinder class, but noticed that it was hard for Kinders to keep the order straight. So I abandoned the rainbow and invited all colors to the flowers. This was so much easier. For the final step (usually the second session), children painted dots, patterns, outlines and generally anything they wanted with black and white liquid tempera paint. I love this final step since it pulls all the colors together. I will confess to cutting out the final project for one class but the other classes will cut out their flower on their very own. Aren’t these happy? Book Suggestions: The Dot by Peter Reynolds The Rainbow Book by Kate...

Read More

Pumpkin Harvest Collage

Pumpkin Harvest Collage

By on Oct 16, 2014 | 3 comments

I don’t always see my Kinders in the first art rotation of the year but when I do, we always make some type of pumpkin project. I love this Funny Face Pumpkin for the sheer cutest factor but one of my favorites is the Starlight Pumpkin we did a couple of years ago. This year, I adapted one of my favorite first grade lessons, Autumn Collage, to meet the skill set of my Kinders. This is what we did: CREATE A MOONLIT NIGHT BACKGROUND I wanted this aspect of the project to be open-ended. I didn’t have a clear idea of what or how I wanted the background to look so I set out some supplies and showed the kids what the supplies did. Toilet paper rolls when dipped in paint create rings, the end of a paintbrush and some paint makes a good star, gold and silver paint can add sparkle, etc. I used up the left-over metallic paints from last year and added some aqua and white paint to some palettes. We devoted a full class to experimenting with our backgrounds. PAINTED PAPER PUMPKINS We created painted paper pumpkins the week before by following my tried and true painted paper instructions. I cut each 12″ x 18″ paper in half, divided the colors and set the stacks on a table. When the children were ready to draw their pumpkins, they selected two painted paper colors from the stacks and got to work. We followed the same drawing instructions as the Starlight Pumpkins, then cut out their pumpkins and glued to their background. They selected a small piece of brown painted paper to make their stems and then onto the leaves…. USING TRACERS TO MAKE LEAVES So now comes the interesting part. I knew it would happen because it does every year. Some children have a hard time grasping the concept of tracing a template. Leaves are a bit hard to draw, especially for a Kinder, and since they drew their own pumpkin, I figured tracing and cutting leaves was an okay way to go. But this is what happens: Some kids take the tracer and trace a leaf shape onto the pumpkin (see above top photo) Or they color in the template and use the template to...

Read More