Hooray for Fish Art Project

Hooray for Fish Art Project


If you haven’t seen Lucy Cousins’ Hooray for Fish! I encourage you to find it at your nearest bookstore. It is filled with vibrant colors, fast read text and the most adorable fish you can imagine. My Kinders LOVED this book and the illustrations captured their imaginations.

I began the lesson by reading the book and asking the children to think about what kind of fish they would like to draw. After the reading, the children found a place to sit and began painting their fish outline with a black oil pastel. I gave the children the freedom to create any fish they like. I asked them to include a head, a body, a tail and perhaps a fin or two.

Once the children created their fish, I brought out the tubs of glorious tempera paint. Next, I pre-mixed some special colors so that the fish would be as vibrant as the illustrations in the book. I love tubs of paint and it has become one of my favorite ways to distribute paints.

The children painted away.  I set out the tubs of black tempera paint and small tip brushes after they were done painting. This can be a messy job but it really is quite fun, especially when the children can paint long eyelashes or long, curly tails.

The children had lots of fun with their fish and in terms of teacher stuff, the lesson was fast. Only two, forty-five minute sessions with just about every child completing a full picture.

What do you think? I could teach Kinders ALL DAY LONG. Love ’em.



What do you think?

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  • Katie

    WOW. You’re quite inspiring. Thank you for all of your ideas! I am a first year art teacher. Having taught kinder and 1st, I tend to have more creative lessons anyhow, but it’s fun to make them ALL about the art and less about the structured math and reading!

    • Patty Palmer

      I could teach Kinder and 1st grade all day long. Love ’em! Have fun with the fish.

  • Nichole

    Patty, I love the unique results and vibrant colors! Can you tell me how you distribute the paint – does every table get a tub of each color, or do you just give each table a certain number of colors?
    p.s. Thank you for sharing such awesome ideas!!

    • Patty Palmer

      I keep tubs of mixed tempera paints in a cupboard. I usually do 5 tubs of each color and then place all 5 tubs on each table. Sometimes I will put paintbrushes directly into the tub and not use water and other times I give each child a paintbrush to use and clean. Try both to see which you prefer. This is generally how I do it for my younger kids. Older kids need to mix their own colors! Here’s a video showing how to mix and here is a color mixing worksheet to download.

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