Based on the book, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, kids learn how to paint perspective trees and draw hibernating animals

Over & Under Winter Habitat Art Project




Based on the book, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, kids learn how to paint perspective trees and draw hibernating animals

I don't know what it is about winter-themed books, but every year I come across a title that is perfect for the art room. Over and Under the Snow is a book that uncovers the "secret kingdom under the snow." Children are offered a glimpse of where animals go during the winter months and what their homes look like. The artwork is beautiful--ethereal, soft and filled with atmospheric perspective.

The Book: Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal

I created this lesson for my third grade kids but because of the details involved, the project can be enjoyed and better executed by older kids. Heck, I LOVED doing this project. I created a detailed lesson plan for you that includes drawing steps for the winter animals making an appearance in the book. This offers kids lots of choice to pick and choose which animals they want to create.

Based on the book, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, kids learn how to paint perspective trees and draw hibernating animals

Th project starts with making painted paper. I explain how to mix your own paint colors in the lesson plan in case you aren't sure how to replicate the beautiful colors in the book.

After the kids make the painted paper, they paint a winter landscape in 3 layers: sky, snow and under-the-snow. This is where they will place hibernating winter animals.

I loved how some children were able to infused their own personalities into their artwork. Some children foraged out the brightest of painted papers to create a colorful, happy mood, while others gravitated towards the darker shades. Such is life, right?

Aren't they beautiful? I love the colors and the sly foxes roaming the snowy earth.

Winter Landscapes by Third Graders

Winter Habitat art projects by third graders

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  • Gloria Mathews

    Oh my goodness! I bought this book in November and thought, “I need to tell Patty about this book, I can just see a project in the making!” and here you are, sharing such a lovely project with us. Thank you!

    I am working on scaling this idea down for a 1st -2nd grade class. I’ll let you know if I am successful!

    Thanks Patty!

    • Patty Palmer

      So glad you thought of me. Isn’t the book divine? Yes, please let me know what you do with the little ones. Thanks, Gloria!

    • Jeankne

      Oh Gloria, Thank you for sharing because I have just purchased this package Also, to use with the younger ones! What I think is most helpful is the templates for drawing the animals. Please do come back and share a link if you get a chance to share something about your experience with little ones & this project! Thank you!

    • Jenni L

      Just wondering if anyone has ended up doing this with 1st or 2nd graders. I am thinking of trying with 1st graders and would love some tips. Thanks!

      • Patty

        Hi Jenni,
        I love this lesson for older students as it allows them to select their animals and draw from observation. But, this can be adapted for younger students by doing the following:
        1. Do the background as per instructions. 1st and 2nd graders will do very well with this.
        2. For the animals, either choose 1 animal to direct draw together OR use a coloring sheet and kids can color selected animals.
        The full lesson plan has handouts and drawing guides. If you’re a member of The Sparklers Club you can access this in the Winter Bundle.

  • 1earnscliff@gmail.com

    Where can I purchase the detailed plans for this lesson? Thanks.

    • Patty

      Hi there! I’m sorry! This lesson isn’t available to purchase. If you’re a member of The Sparklers Club, it’s located in the Winter Art Bundle. If you are an art teacher who needs lessons, the membership might be something you are interested in: pay a monthly fee for access to art bundles. Here’s a link for notification: https://www.deepspacesparkle.com/tmc/learn-about-the-members-club/

  • 1earnscliff@gmail.com

    Where can I find the detailed lesson for this project?


    please send us teh instructions, I would love to use them for my painting club .

  • Talia Ellett

    I am wondering how to access the over and under the snow lesson plan?


  • Collette

    I love the over and under project. How do I access the lesson? Is it for purchase?

  • elizabeth uhren

    adore this!

  • Stephanie Cook

    How do I access this lesson plan? Is it available for purchase or only for members? I’d love to try it!

    • Stephanie

      My apologies. I just read the thread and sadly found my answer.

  • Jo-Ann Rutherford

    I love how this lesson allowed me to learn what the student understood about ecosystems and habitats. My students loved creating this piece and it reinforced their understanding.

  • Nicole

    What a beautiful art project! I love the different layers and colours. I would like to do something like this with my kindergarten students..

  • Alicia

    How do I get this lesson? I don’t see anywhere that it is available to click?

    • Patty

      I’m sorry! The full lesson is only available to our members in The Sparklers Club

  • Kimberly Ramsey

    I’d like to have a detailed lesson for teaching my 3rd graders the Over and Under the Snow paint project. How do I get it? I have enjoyed so many of your video lessons. That is what I’m looking for.
    Thank you,
    Kim Ramsey
    Valley Christian Elem.
    San Jose, CA

    • Bethany

      Absolutely! Just click the “click to download” image, add your name and email and we’ll send it to you!

  • Diane Thuot-MacDonald

    I love this project! I am planning on doing this with my grade 1 and 2 students. Hopefully, it will work!

  • Cathy

    Looking forward to art project

  • Lisa

    I love this!!! Is it still available?

    • Bethany

      Hi Lisa! Absolutely! Just click the “click to download” image, add your name and email and we’ll send it to you! We’ve recently learned that our downloads aren’t working with the Firefox browser, so I’d suggest using Chrome or Safari instead. Enjoy.

  • Nidia

    Hi! How do I get this art lesson plan? Over & Under Winter Habitat Art Project.

    • Bethany

      Hi Nidia! This lesson is only available inside The Sparklers’ Club Membership. The Sparklers’ Club is an affordable and flexible pay as you go monthly membership—perfect for anyone who teaches art to students aged K-7. Enrollment is coming up in January. To join the Sparklers’ Club waitlist and learn more about The Sparklers’ Club click here: https://deepspacesparkle.lpages.co/the-sparklers-club-waitlist/

  • Paula

    This would be something I would like to try with my older kids at daycare.

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