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First Grade Watercolor Birds

My last class with my first and second grade students was on Tuesday. I only had 15 classes with them, so when the last class arrived, it felt very sad and short. Most of my lessons are designed to fit into 2, 45-minute sessions, so when I need a one session lesson, I really need to think about what can be completed within a short amount of time.A fast and easy watercolor bird art project for boys and girls. Beautiful results!

To draw the bird ( drawing tutorial can be found here ) we started with a directed line drawing with oil pastels. It’s important to note that even though I say directed line drawing, I rarely give my students just one option. By now, they are used to many drawings on the white board. Often we’ll brainstorm what a beak can look like, how you could change the wings, that sort of thing. This technique works well for me as I want the children to learn to draw but also want them to be as individual as possible. Most of the time, I feel confident that I achieved this.

So after a quick drawing tutorial, I ask the students to follow along and draw their bird with one color of oil pastel. Then, select one or two (or three!) other colors to add feathers, color in the beak, etc.

Now onto the watercolors: I ask them to paint the birds first so that if we run out of time, at least the bird is painted.

You can watch a video of the children painting the birds HERE.

That’s it. Easy-peasy lesson.

Aren’t these the cutest, little birds you’ve ever seen?

A fast and easy watercolor bird art project for boys and girls. Beautiful results!


    • Hi

      I’m just wondering do you think it would work well to do the whole lesson with oil pastels instead of paint or is the paint better?

      Hoping to try it soon
      Thank you



      February 3, 2013

      • Sorry meant to post this question in the kindergarten lesson on black paper that is slightly different!


        February 3, 2013

  1. I love your website! My kids love doing your art projects. In my district, we don’t have a regular art teacher so this is such a great resource for teachers who love and value art and need great ideas and tips to get us started. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful and inspiring creations!


    March 22, 2011

  2. They are beautiful!!!


    March 30, 2011

  3. I love these! Birds are my favorite 🙂


    March 30, 2011

  4. Dear Patty
    I am a sculptor in copper enameling and I ran an art department at a military school for three years with 105 students a day. I was new and had a lot of learning to do myself. With a lot going on as a full time artist ,I teach residencies when I can with elementry level kids who are as fun as they can be. your lessons are not only fun to read , they are spot on and very helpful as well.
    thank you,

    Sean Alton

    April 3, 2011

  5. Hello,

    I was wondering if there was a recipe you used to create the liquid water colors paint you used to make these birds. I am currently student teaching and I’d love to be able to have such vibrant colors for the preschoolers that I am doing my student teaching at to paint with. I’d like to create the lesson plan that uses these beautiful water colors by April 18th 2011.

    Hoping to hear from you soon!


    Dessy B.

    April 5, 2011

  6. Hello,

    I used this project as my intro lesson to a homeschool group ranging from Gr. 1 – Gr. 3. They LOVED it! The best tip that I followed was to utilize liquid watercolor paint, as opposed to having the students mix their paints with water. Cutting out the “mixing” step helped keep the wheels of my lesson moving forward. Through this project I was able to introduce the concept of wet-on-wet, and also attempt some step-by-step drawing.

    Patty, I am so happy that I discovered your website!

    Mike — new art teacher/professional artist/homeschool dad


    September 12, 2015

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