we help adults teach art to kids

Dazzling Dinosaurs Art Project

My first grade students absolutely love this lesson. For an art teacher, pulling out chalk pastel is always a bit dicey. You just never know if they’ll get more chalk on their hands than on the art work. I always throw caution to the wind and let ’em at it. To me, there is nothing more adorable than watching chubby little fingers wade through a cloud of chalk dust. I demonstrate two very simple dinosaurs. Basically, they are drawn the same way, just with the head in different places. Encourage the kids to add spikes, bony plates, horns, etc. Of course, you’ll always get a dino expert in the class who will insist upon proper anatomy details. I usually bring this kid up to the front of the class to explain-away.
Here are a few helpful teaching tips:

  • Draw the dino with a black oil pastel
  • Limit sky to one color
  • Limit ground to one color
  • After filling in with chalk, outline again with a black oil pastel
  • Tap excess chalk on the edge of table and onto the floor instead of blowing it onto another child’s artwork
  • Spray artwork with hairspray to set

Have fun!


  1. Cute! I'm loving the incredibly spiky dino on the botton right.. .and the colors are nice too! 🙂


    March 22, 2010

  2. Just what I was looking for! I needed a project for my first graders and was looking for chalk, but hestitating using chalk with first grade. Thank you for the great project!

    Mrs. Hanel

    March 22, 2010

  3. Precious! What color paper did you use?


    March 22, 2010

  4. Hi Cindy,
    Black paper.

    Patty P

    March 22, 2010

  5. Oh my goodness. These are awesome. I'll have to get my kids to do this. Thanks!


    March 23, 2010

  6. Awesome! I'm going to try this with a dragon theme for 4 and 5 year olds…I think you're never too young for pastels (I hope!)

    Studio Zanne

    March 24, 2010

  7. I also love the pictures but think you need to be very careful using chalk with children.
    If you have any children who have asthma they can have an attack from chalk blowing in the air.
    In my district we use oil pastels more, or do chalk on wet paper. If I use dry chalk with elementary students I have them rub it with kleenex to blend it. We sometimes shake off excess into the trash on top of wet paper towels, never onto the floor.


    March 26, 2010

    • That’s why you provide sugar water along with chalk so they can dip the chalk before use 🙂


      July 17, 2012

  8. hello patty….i think i have been here before because i recognize your bike profile photo. 🙂 but i don't think i have commented before. i am a mom ….not a teacher…but i am in love with your projects. i will be searching here over and over for great ideas! i love it.
    i know that i need to go get some pastels now too.
    thanks for sharing so many great ideas with instructions! have a super friday!

    meg duerksen

    March 27, 2010

  9. Thanks Meg! Pastels are so beautiful, but so, so messy! All the more fun, right?

    Hi Bobbi! Thanks for the warning. In all my years of teaching art however, I've never had a child suffer allergies from chalk. I think we keep our art room clean enough and any chalk that lands on the floor gets vacuumed that evening. Good thing to watch for though.

    Patty P

    April 4, 2010

  10. Hi,
    This and other lessons have been very inspirational to me in teaching; and I’m a lifer. You have brought new life to my art room! Sweet! I had a kinder telling me about dinosaurs today and I remembered seeing a dinosaur lesson here earlier. Sometime after the holiday I’m going to pull out some dino models I have (for the perfectionists!) and the chalk and we’re going to go at it! Thanks for being here!


    December 8, 2010

  11. So nice ! If you are using black paper, do they see the lines they are making with the black oil pastel ?


    February 19, 2013

    • Yes. Since the oil pastel is a different texture,it shows up well.

      Patty Palmer

      February 20, 2013

  12. Do you do a directed drawing with this lesson? I’d love to see it if you do.
    p.s. I’m viewing the site in google chrome and all of the w’s in the post are missing. *eird!

    Tangy Belland

    September 27, 2013

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