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City at Night Art Project

My last art project with my K/1 class was designed to use up my left-over paints and paper scraps. I’ve done a City Skyline Art Lesson with my Kinders before, but I changed up the background with this lesson. Instead of a plain background, students painted swirls to imitate Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. I’ve seen other art teachers do similar projects and I loved the vibrancy of the whole piece.

Creating the Painting

We used left-over fluorescent paint for the background/sky. Children made swirls, spots and dribbles with their paints. I didn’t introduce the obvious accompaniment (Starry Night by Van Gogh) because honestly, I plum ran out of steam. My goal was to just get the paint on the paper…ahh, don’t you love the end of the year efforts?

Adding Paper Scrap Details

I brought out my over-whelming supply of paper scraps and let the kids dig through the mess to add windows and doors to their black paper skyscrapers. After it was all said and done, the children produced some pretty cool pieces of art. I’ll miss my little Kinders…they always came into the art room eager for new lessons and fun techniques.

Kindergarten City Scapes


  1. These are great!!!!! I adore these. I think I will do something with my kiddos at home. 🙂


    June 9, 2011

  2. These are so cute! I love it!


    June 9, 2011

  3. Since reading your blog Patty I have been diligently keeping all scraps and making painted patterned paper with my grades as it all comes in handy. These pictures are vibrant and exciting and relate to a real artist, wonderful. I just bought the usbourne Art Treasury book full of ideas related to artists of the world and it is inspiring for lessons, a Van Gogh idea is included in that one too. This is such an awesome idea that you could do with the younger grades, I am going to give it a try. Thanks for keeping me alive with ideas and inspiration!


    June 10, 2011

  4. yes it is! i love how they jump right in with no fear…and i love the results!

    these are wonderful.


    June 10, 2011

  5. I love cityscapes…I have done a similar projects with students of every grade k-5, and they are always fun and successful!!


    June 10, 2011

  6. There is a book that goes along well with this lesson – ” The Starry Night” by Neil Waldman. It’s about a young boy who meets an artist that has a strange resemblance to Van Gogh in NYC. Beautiful illustrations.

    Tracie McLain

    June 13, 2011

  7. Another great book to go with it for Van Gogh is “Katie and the Sunflowers”

    Andrea Manor

    July 3, 2011

  8. What a fantastic activity. Have just done this with my 5 year olds. they loved it and the results are stunning. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us all.

    Lynne Tanner

    October 27, 2011

  9. This was such a fun project to do with my kinders but because of time constraints, I plan all of my lessons to begin and end during one block of time. So, instead of paint, we used colored pastel chalk for the lovely background against large black paper. And they did multi-colored buildings (instead of black) out of paper scraps complete with the yellow windows. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    Jessica Saxton

    November 14, 2012

  10. I made these with my ESL Kindergartners and it was probably my favorite project of the year! Such bright colors and I loved the contrast!


    February 2, 2013

  11. Patty,

    I found a cool book to go along with this project. It’s called “Mr. Biggs in the City” by Kevin Bloomfield. Just thought I’d share.

    Carol in Tracy, CA


    March 3, 2013

  12. I just wanted to let you know that I have been visiting your site for the last few years and I LOVE it!!! I teach Special Needs students at a high school and since we teach everything I have art too! Which is okay by me! I love your lessons and use them all the time in my class. I have gotten some pretty cool artwork out of it too! Anyway just love your site!


    May 7, 2014

  13. Oh, this is a perfect project to discuss the longer darkness during winter with my kinders. I do ” art off a cart,” so I will be using pastel chalk( great idea) . Thanks

    Berit Massman

    November 30, 2015

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