we help adults teach art to kids

Lessons by Grade


I believe children grow and develop their art skills over time. There are exceptions, but for most children, I would encourage you to try an art lesson that fits the age level of your child. Here’s how grade levels and age breaks down in the US:

Kinder: ages 4 ½-6 years

First Grade: 6-7 years

Second Grade: 7-8 years

Third Grade: 8-9 years

Fourth Grade: 9-10 years

Fifth Grade: 10-11 years

Sixth Grade: 11-12 years













  1. Hello, I was on the hunt for Art Lessons, I am a first year high school art teacher tho. I have noticed that many of your lessons are similar to what I have been looking for, how do you suggest I make the lessons more accommodating to high school?
    Shannon Gehen

    Shannon Gehen

    December 27, 2013

    • Hi Shannon,
      Great question. I would assume that students enrolled in High School art have stronger art skills than elementary students so it’s hard to translate any of my lessons for high school. You would also have different standards. But, you’re right, some of the lessons could be adjusted to a high school student. The Modigliani portraits (https://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2012/02/11/modigliani-portraits-in-chalk-pastel/) for instance, could be taught the same way but the HS students would focus more deeply on the details.
      A Starry Night painting lesson could be done using acrylics or even oil paints instead of tempera and paper. The idea would be too use more advanced art materials, extend higher art standards and ask for more details. I hope this helps!

      Patty Palmer

      December 27, 2013

    • When I want to raise the year level – I add in specified learning intentions, success criteria and quite specific design requirements ….this addresses a lot of the curriculum requirements allowing for easy assessment. I also build in some specific Higher Order Questions ( others tend to pop up along the way ! ) to get students thinking and conversations started as well. Not being naturally art inclined I now create a PowerPoint for each project using photos , student examples, some video clips when available and all of the above as a ‘ start up/ student engagement ‘ activity that we refer back to throughout the project (luckily I have an Interactive Whiteboard in the art room) and often this leads to all sorts of interesting alternative suggestions and treatments being applied to meet the design criteria, demonstrate the skill etc. Of course linking to other areas of the curriculum also helps eg. I used the Fairy tale Kings & Queens when a year level was focussing on the Fairytale writing genre whilst learning the doubled loaded technique, then got a higher year level to focus on the architecture of that genre and create castles using stamping patterns for their bricks and all came together with collaborative groups creating a background for all of them with extras like dragons,knights etc. Obviously not suitable for High School but you could do something similar with the study of Shakespeare using the Globe theatre architecture, Elizabethan fashions etc.it takes a bit of prep to locate different ideas and link them but worth it for the results.

      Heather Lloyd

      August 25, 2015

  2. Patti,
    Last year I landed the job of my dreams – art teacher to a Pre-K thru 4th grade elementary school in rural southern Arizona. I found your site supported me, prepared me and inspired me and just love what you provide to us newbies out there. Here’s my question: In working with the students, except for perhaps the 3rd & 4th graders, the rest of the students are excited to make an art piece, and often beg to take them home. If I do an art project that takes 2 class periods – they get art once a week – they often are bored about halfway through the 2nd class, and either slop their way through finishing it, or just dont want to finish it at all. Or, some finish early, while others are still engaged. So I find myself almost exclusively choosing art projects that can be completed in the 45 min. that are allotted. I yearn to do the more complicated projects I see on your site, but hesistate to try the 2 period projects. Any suggestions?
    Judy outside of Tucson

    Judy Lucz

    January 4, 2014

    • Hi Judy,
      Congratulations on landing your dream job! I agree, it sounds fabulous.
      This is such a great question and one that many teachers struggle with. You should consider taking my Teaching Art 101 ecourse as it covers many of the topics/concerns you are talking about. But for now, here’s what I think:

      I’m not sure about the children’s background in art, or what they are use to, but if you are choosing age-appropriate lessons (very important), don’t teach down to them. Encourage them through the process by asking lots of questions, or simply demonstrating again where they are
      blocked”. 2-part lessons are very common and the children can complete them, you just have to make them want to. That’s the trick right? Revisit your approach to each lesson, making sure your expectations are aligned and that your delivery is encouraging.
      Here is a link to a post I wrote about motivating students to do their best work. https://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2011/09/11/motivating-students-to-produce-their-best-work/

      Good luck!

      Patty Palmer

      January 4, 2014

  3. Hello,
    I am buying some lessons and would like to add some of your freebies but when I click on add to cart for the freebies nothing happens. Am I not going to see those in the cart since they are free? Thanks!


    January 11, 2014

  4. Hi Patty!
    I just recently came across your blog and I love it!! As a new art teacher it’s hard to know where to start with all the ideas and options out there. It is very overwhelming! Your site has been the resource for me! I’m using your supply list to help me plan for next year’s order. Thanks for sharing your good and not-so-good experiences with the rest of us. I can’t thank you enough. My school awarded me money to sign up for your e-course Teach Art 101. I’m so excited!!!


    January 13, 2014

  5. Hi Patty! I love your blog! Thank you for inspiring many of my art lessons! I have used your fairytale unit before but now I can’t find it under subjects. Do you still have it elsewhere? Thanks

    Mel Birch

    January 15, 2014

    • I just added it back under the Menu Bar > Art Library > Art by Subject > Fairytales. Thanks for letting me know!

      Patty Palmer

      January 15, 2014

  6. I was wondering if you have a lesson plan I could purchase to teach people at work to a group of first graders? I need ideas for a project they could do perhaps with watercolors.


    maureen Olson

    January 23, 2014

  7. Is there a fee when subccribing to newsletter?

    Janice bowers

    January 27, 2014

    • No. Absolutely free.

      Patty Palmer

      January 27, 2014

  8. We want to provide ceramics for an after school program. What kind of kiln would you suggest and what cone for bright, rich color under glazes?

    Deborah Sparks

    February 7, 2014

  9. Hi Patty,
    I just wanted to let you know how great you are! You are so inspiring. I am homeschooling my two young children and have purchased some of your art lessons and I am thrilled with my purchases. I started out using your freebies and I also want to thank you for having these freebies available too. My children have been producing amazing artwork as a result of your website. Thank you for your great website and your selfness nature that gives others the opportunity to access both these free and paid resources. Kind Regards Donna


    February 7, 2014

  10. I have has the worst luck with my acrylic paint s in yellow. Very opaque and watery …hard to dry. I have used artisan level 1 and 2 and still. The same. Any one else have this problem?

    Karen Graham

    March 19, 2014

    • Acrylic paints just aren’t my favorite because they can smell, discolor, stain clothes….and the list goes on! I do love the end results, though.

      Patty Palmer

      March 24, 2014

  11. Hi Patty,

    I love your website. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas for teaching art to Kindergarten – Yr 6 in the one class?? I work in a small school 20 children in total and take their art session on a Friday. I really want to do something that challenges and excites the upper primary children (Year 5 & 6) however can still be adapted and possible for the lower infants children (Kinder & Year 1) and of course a happy medium for the (Year 2,3,4). Any advice would be wonderful.


    July 13, 2014

    • This is certainly a challenge. I haven’t been in this exact situation before so I can’t say with any amount of certainty what would work best. You probably will have to do lots of experiments to see how you should break up the kids.
      My suggestion is to pick an art lesson like painting an iguana but use different techniques for each level of kids. With the K-2nd grade use oil pastels and liquid watercolors. With 3-6th grade kids use oil pastel with tray watercolors or even pen and watercolors. By amping up the difficulty levels within the techniques, you can still teach the same lesson to all kids and abilities.
      Another way to go is to offer a flexible lesson and have the children choose their own supplies and method. More like a choice-base approach. I don’t have much experience with CBA but it would be worth exploring that option.
      Hope this gets you started!

      Patty Palmer

      July 14, 2014

  12. I am an adult, actually an older adult, but my art skills stopped about 4 or 5th grade. I have recently begun taking a beginning art class for adults from a great teacher. She says many of not most, of her adult students stopped doing art when they found they could not make a realistic image and that was about 4th grade level.

    She begins “where we are” and over a year I have enjoyed art projects that she does with her older kids, but I have learned the skills I needed to advance.

    This being said, I think many of your projects could be enjoyed by older students.

    Becky Johns

    July 5, 2017

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