Van Gogh Inspired City at Night Art Project




My last art project with my K/1 class was designed to use up my leftover paints and paper scraps. I’ve done City At Night Paper Collage with my Kinders before.

Instead of a plain background this time, 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 Starry Swirls

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 Van Gogh Inspired City Scapes


Here is another great lesson for kindergartners to practice cutting and pasting skills. This Van Gogh inspired art project looks super displayed next to one another on a wall or bulletin board.

What you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Colored paper
  • Black 12″ x 18″ paper for background
  • White tempera paint for starry night

How to teach children to make a paper city

Creating the moon and stars:
Swirl a small brush in a circle to form the moon and splatter the white paint on the black paper to create the stars. It helps to water down the paint before splattering. This step takes about five minutes. Set paper aside while you make the buildings.

You can also dig into your gift wrap box and select the odds and ends that will become windows, smoke stacks and doors. And that is the trick for the kids…to encourage them to not copy their neighbors work and create something unique to them.

Creating the skyscrapers:
After a short discussion on skyscrapers, I show the kids how they can take a rectangle and cut the top part to create a custom skyscrapers. It’s a simple as cutting out small squares and rectangles from the top and sides of each piece. Have the students glue the skyscrapers as they go, going from one side of the paper to the next.

Adding windows and doors:
This step can take a bit of time. Some kids are meticulous and others, well, not so much. I cut strips of yellow construction paper the width of their windows and give a couple of strips to each student. They can cut the strips into small rectangles and glue them to the windows. Same for the doors.

shapes and pattern paper city art project for Kindergarten

ARE YOU A SPARKLER? Over 300 art lessons are available inside the Members Club. Access to videos, resources & trainings for one low monthly fee.


What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Laura

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

  • Maria

    These are so cute! I love it!

  • josie

    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!

  • Mary

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

    these are wonderful.

  • ashley

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

  • Tracie McLain

    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.

  • Andrea Manor

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

  • Lynne Tanner

    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.

  • Jessica Saxton

    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!

    • Patty Palmer

      Your adaptation sounds amazing!

  • Stacey

    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!

  • Carol


    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

  • Annie

    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!

  • Berit Massman

    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

  • linda keels

    I think that I will give this a try—my grade k is learning slowly, very slowly how to use scissors.

  • China Aroh


  • Lynn

    I will do this with my children.

  • Mónika Paschek

    I love your idea and I’m sure it works! Easy steps using simple tools. I eager to try in practice!!

  • Linda Landre

    This is a great idea for left over paper. I am an art teacher and Boy! do I have lots of leftover paper!! I did this with Second Grade. It was perfect for them!!

Follow Us

In stores 8/21


The {lesson_title} Lesson is Locked inside of the {bundle_title}

Unlocking this lesson will give you access to the entire bundle and use {points} of your available unlocks.

Are you sure?

No Yes

The {bundle_title} is Locked

Accessing this bundle will use {points} of your available unlocks.

Are you sure?

No Yes



The {lesson_title} Lesson is Locked inside of the {bundle_title}

To unlock this lesson, close this box, then click on the “lock” icon.