we help adults teach art to kids

3th Grade Art Lessons

Candy Hearts Valentine’s Day Project

Candy Hearts Valentine’s Day Project

By on Jan 31, 2017 | 9 comments

No doubt you have access to a few candy hearts right about now. I know I do, so instead of gobbling them up, I decided to turn these sweet pastel treats into an art project. This lesson is a great way for kids in grades 3 and above to observe a color and try to replicate the value. You can free-draw the heart or use a template. The older the child, the easier it is to draw a large heart. Drawing a heart big enough to paint inside is the goal so if you notice that some children are struggling with drawing the heart, use a template. WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Grab some liquid tempera paints, paper plates, 6″ white paper squares, a pencil, a black marker and of course, a few sweet heart candies. CREATING VALUE Tints are created by mixing white to any hue (color).  This might seem rather boring but I tell you, kid’s LOVE watching white paint do it’s magic on a color. It really is all about the paint mixing here, so if you can give each child a small paper plate in which to explore the painting mixing, please do. Place a quarter size dollop of white paint in the center of each child’s plate. Place a candy heart (random colors) on the plate and then squirt a dime-sized dollop of the candy color on the plate too. Some colors like light teal require three colors: white, turquoise and yellow. For older students, using COMPLEMENTARY colors adds an authentic darker tone or SHADE to use as the contrast. Although, it just might be easier to use less white for the darker parts of the candy hearts. Mix the white and colors together until the color is the same as the candy heart. PAINTING THE HEART Painting the heart is very quick because the paper size is small (6″ x 6″). This allows the child to create more than one heart. If you are doing this lesson with younger kids (ages 6-8) use a larger 10″ x 10″ paper. The bigger area is more forgiving. Where the shadows lies on the heart, use a darker color to add as the contrast. When the heart is...

Read More

Paper Plate Poinsettia: Holiday Craft for Kids

Paper Plate Poinsettia: Holiday Craft for Kids

By on Nov 22, 2016 | 10 comments

While decidedly Christmas in flavor, this easy holiday craft for kids can vary in paint colors to compliment any season. I’ll admit that creating these pink beauties filled my creativity bucket for the day. So grab some paint, a few paper plates from your pantry and crank up the holiday tunes. I guarantee, you’ll enjoy this as much as your kids! This project is perfect for those days during the holiday season when you need a fun activity for your festival of lights unit or holiday unit. Picture Book Recommendation The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaola This book is set in a small village in Mexico and is a retelling of a traditional folk tale. It does have strong religious content so it may not be appropriate for your class. Each teacher can determine whether it is suitable for his or her classroom. Here’s what you’ll need: 10”, 9” & 6” Plate (exact size is not as important as 3 different sizes) Red, white, green and yellow liquid tempera paint Gold metallic paint (optional) Small kitchen sponges (cut a regular sponge into smaller rectangles) Red, white and green oil pastels Paint brushes Yellow tissue paper Scissors Pencil Small plastic cup or lid White School Glue Don’t be alarmed by the extensive supply list. Most everything can be found in your art pantry. I find tempera paints are best but if you have craft acrylic paints (the kind you find in craft stores) then you are great. Curious what the difference is between tempera paint and acrylic paint? Here’s a video showing what I discovered: Acrylic vs Tempera Paint. * DOWNLOAD THE FREE PDF BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND ARTIST STATEMENT How to Make the Poinsettia: Each student receives 3 paper plates. I use the most inexpensive brand that has no printing on it. It doesn’t matter the size of the plates, but it does help to have 3 different sizes: small, medium and large. Place a small condiment cup or circle template in the middle of the LARGEST PLATE. Draw a circle. Starting at the outside edge of the plate, cut a leaf shape towards the center circle. Do not cut through the circle. For younger kids, it may be helpful to...

Read More

Contour Cat Watercolor Project

Contour Cat Watercolor Project

By on Oct 5, 2016 | 3 comments

The complementary colors of orange and blue are everywhere this fall season. And why not showcase these happy colors with a blue belly cat? A bit of doodling the other day prompted a quick contour drawing of this cute cat. Using the simple drawing handout,  children can free-draw their own contour cat to use as the subject of three watercolor techniques: Wet-on-wet watercolor (cat) Wet-on-dry watercolor (background) Wax resist (white outline and watercolor barrier) This lesson can be done in two steps. First, draw the contour cat with a sharpie on watercolor paper. Then paint the cat and background. Second, after the paint dries, add the pattern and lines. ART SUPPLIES waterproof black marker watercolor paper (90 lb) pan watercolor paints white crayon or oil pastel medium round brush water TECHNIQUES wet-on-wet wet-on-dry wax resist contour line drawing patterns, shape and line DRAWING DIRECTIONS Use the drawing handout as a guide to draw a contour line of a simple cat. Focus on drawing two ears, a head, a long neck, hunched shoulders, simple paws and a long, curvy tail. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. The fun part is drawing wonky lines! Draw two oval shapes for the EYES. With a white crayon, trace carefully along the outside of the black marker line. With a brush, touch the blue paint and dip into water so the clear water has a tint of blue. Brush water inside the contour line. With BLUE paint, start painting a LINE of color along the bottom of the cat. Hold paper upside down so that the blue drips and mingles towards the body. Continue painting the cat blue, allowing the paint to migrate down the paper using gravity. This is really fun for kids as they can see how the colored paint will travel to the wet areas. Paint outside of the contour line (NEGATIVE SPACE) blue’s COMPLEMENTARY COLOR (orange!) After paint dries, use the black marker to add a NOSE and a MOUTH. Fill the cat with patterns, lines and...

Read More

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

Matisse Garden – Book Review & Video

By on Jun 13, 2016 | 5 comments

MATISSE’S GARDEN My favorite activity is popping into a book store to browse. I hardly do it anymore mostly because bookstores aren’t as plentiful. And doesn’t Amazon make it easy to buy your favorite books? But as I was walking down Sate Street last week with my daughter, we popped into The Santa Barbara Museum of Art book store. Nothing makes me happier than being immersed in colorful children’s book covers, except maybe art books written for children. Matisse’s Garden by Samantha Friedman is a must have book for your art room library. It moves past Matisse’s back story and dives straight into the process of creating art, choosing colors and seeing art in a new way. And if you don’t have any of Matisse’s works of art nearby, there are eight reproductions you can use to show your students. Nice, huh? I love the illustrations by Cristina Amodeo. Perhaps a little less saturated than I prefer but still lovely and appealing. I was so inspired that I decided to draw my own little Matisse Garden inspired by Amodeo’s illustrations. Here’s a video that shows how to use basic markers to draw organic shapes and create a composition of your own. I used a simple sketchbook and Faber-Castell broad-tip markers. I tried really hard to leave the colors flat, like Matisse, but I couldn’t resist. In the end, I grabbed a Sharpie and outlined the flowers. I think you are either in one camp or another. I almost always outline but I love the organic beauty of not outlining, too. I know. So many tough decisions in art-making. Which do you prefer? Outlining or not?     SAVE THIS POST!...

Read More

Ancient Dwellings Rock Art

Ancient Dwellings Rock Art

By on Mar 6, 2016 | 2 comments

This art project offers kids the opportunity to create their own rock art petroglyphs using terra cotta clay scraps and white paint. And the best part is that the project takes less than 45-minutes. To start, read your favorite ancient rock art book. I picked up a copy of Ancient Dwellings of the Southwest in Arizona but there are many other books that illustrate the art of our earliest habitants. This is a project that is perfect for air dry clay. Sometimes with air dry clay, the small details in a work of art can be chipped off, but this flat shape is safe from the typical perils of it dry clay. Purchase terra cotta clay and you’ll make the project even easier to do (and more authentic). I gave each student a handout of petroglyph drawings. If you don’t have one, you can download one from a site similar to this one or make your own. We practiced etching with a wooden dowel on clay and then they drew their petroglyph on their clay square (about 3″ x 3″). It would be far easier to just paint the image on the square but it didn’t really occur to me at the time, so etching is what we did. After the students etched their design, they use white underglaze to paint on top. If you are using air dry clay, using acrylic paint or even liquid tempera paint would work very well. I fired the clay rock tile since they were dry. No glaze is needed. Here’s what my group of second graders created: If you are looking for a more detailed lesson on cave paintings, take a look at...

Read More

“Antiqued” Oil Pastel Flowers in a Vase

“Antiqued” Oil Pastel Flowers in a Vase

By on Feb 12, 2016 | 8 comments

Recognize this beauty? This was the one of the first lesson I posted on my writing blog back in 2007 before Deep Space Sparkle existed. Such classics should be given due credit, don’t you think? Create this sophisticated bouquet with your little ones to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Here is a great way to teach watercolor resist. It’s simple and involves a surprise at the end. On the white board, demonstrate how to draw a vase, a table line, then circles for the center of the flowers. Give the students different options for drawing the petals. Ask the kids to choose a favorite color from the pastel palette with the rule that it should be a dark color. This helps the drawings stand out after the watercolor is applied. The kids then draw their vase, table line, flower centers, petals, leaves and stems. Using any color they wish, color in the shapes. When the kids are about halfway through their coloring (slow part), demonstrate the next step. This provides great motivation to complete the coloring portion. SCRUNCH THE PAPER Demonstrate how to take their beautifully colored picture and scrunch it. Because the paper is stiff, the kids literally have to sit on their crushed balled of paper or push really hard with their hands in order to get the required wrinkles. After smoothing out the paper, the kids apply a watercolor wash to the entire surface. TEACHING TIPS A tempera wash doesn’t work. Liquid watercolor is best. I put out two containers of wash; one brown and one blue. The kids can chose which one they like. When the wash settles in the wrinkles, it gives the picture an “antiqued” look. Do you have left-over coffee or tea? Try brushing the cold beverage over the paper to see what happens. The paper will become quite soggy, so leave on testable to prevent tearing when lifted. After the paper dries a bit, you can transfer tho a drying rack. For a more colorful version of a bouquet, try this Watercolor Bouquet project. Perfect for kids ages 7-10. ART SUPPLIES You’ll need a 12″ x 18″ piece of white drawing paper (76lb) Oil Pastels (non water-soluble) Blue or brown liquid watercolor paints Or cold coffee and tea  ...

Read More