we help adults teach art to kids

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




  1. 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!

    Gloria Mathews

    December 8, 2015

    • 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!

      Patty Palmer

      December 8, 2015

    • 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!


      January 29, 2016

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.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