Waterfront Houses Art Lesson

Waterfront Houses Art Lesson



Waterfront Houses Art Lesson

Last summer, I purchased the book Ship-Shapes by Stella Blackstone and illustrated by Siobhan Bell. The  fabric art provided just the inspiration I needed for a shape-based lesson for my kinder kids.

Shapes and color plus cutting and pasting are a perfect match for the kindergarten curriculum. Instead of reading the story (which in my opinion is not a strong read-aloud book for a class setting…the narrator encourages the children to count and identify out small shapes and objects which is best suited for up close read)

I pointed out different shapes (the large ones) and asked the children to identify them. They did well! Triangles, rectangles and squares are the stars of this lesson.

Each page in this book is a potential art lesson. I did different ones with each of my four kinder classes and some will be featured in an upcoming Art Booklet that will be available for purchase later this month. But the one featured today was quite successful and fun for the kids.

I adapted this lesson from one that appeared on a favorite art lesson site, Kid’s Artists. The post City Waterfront has been in my to-do file since last year. While planning my kinder unit, I knew I found a perfect home for this unique lesson. While I chose to do this lesson with my kinders, it might be more suited to a first or second grade class. This lesson required 2, 40-minute sessions. Majority completed project within this time frame.

Supplies you’ll need:

12″ x 18″ White Paper (regular sulphite drawing paper)
Oil Pastels
Colored Paper (cut into squares and rectangles)
Pans of watercolor paint

On the white paper, draw 2 horizontal lines. Below these lines, draw ripples for water.

Color in “Wharf” and begin gluing down squares and rectangles along wharf. Add triangle and trapezoid shapes for the roofs. Use small scraps of colored paper for windows and doors. Use oil pastels for details. Final step is to paint matching rectangles and squares below each house.  Fill in white areas with blue paint.


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What do you think?

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  • Laura

    Love them! I too have been waiting to do this project too. I love the book that you used too! 🙂

    • Patty

      I bet you could come up with some fabulous lessons from this book. You constantly inspire me!

  • Jacquelien

    Thanks for mentioning my site in your post. Your kindergartners did a great job here. I did the lesson in grade 5, and some of my students thought it was a really hard job!

  • janet

    Reflections and Round Trip are two cool books by Ann Jonas that would be neat to share with this lesson. I cannot wait to get back to school to do this lesson. Thanks for all of the great ideas!

    • Patty

      Great! I’ll check these out. Thanks for the tip!

  • Sarah

    Do you cut the rectangles and squares for your kindergardners? I saw a paper plate with them in it, and I know that my kids often balk at cutting out shapes themselves.

    • Patty

      Mostly. I use scrap paper for this project, so I have many pieces that are cut into rectangles and squares. And it really helps to have squares on hand to show how to cut on the diagonal to create a triangle.

  • Jemimah Main

    Found this link for what to do with your own kid’s artwork. It has some very cool ideas, but I did notice a few art lessons I’d seen before amongst the kiddy art. 😀 Thought you’d find this interesting.

    • Patty

      Cool! Thanks for the link!

  • GO Reception Learning Stars

    Thank you for this awesome idea. We are a classroom of five and six year olds and we loved creating these artworks. Our teacher will put some photos on our class blog soon. We look forward to trying some of your other ideas.
    Here are some of our comments:
    The colours of the houses are really bright. – Lachlan
    They look fantastic – Eva
    I enjoyed the painting the most – Sam
    I liked sticking thing on and cutting things out – Sophie
    I liked using the oil pastels – Megan
    I really liked doing the painting – Chloe

    • Patty

      Awwww….how great! So glad you had fun with this project! I love it and it teaches so much, doesn’t it?

  • Carol

    Hi! I am thinking about trying out this project and was wondering where you get your watercolor paints from?

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Carol,
      I buy most of my supplies from Blick Art Supplies but you can purchase from Saxs/School Specialty or even Nasco. Michael’s Craft stores also have a good selection of watercolor paints.

  • Erika Hernandez

    I would love to do this project! Just a quick question, can crayons be used instead of oil pastels?

    • Patty

      Absolutely! Faber-Castell crayons are lovely and waxy so they deliver a darker line without the effort from little hands.

  • Rachel

    When you said “pans of watercolor” what did you mean? I have those singular strips of watercolor. Do you they come in larger sizes for classes?

    • Bethany

      Hi Rachel! Great question. Watercolor paints in pans are supplied in the form of little rectangular ‘cakes’, which are each packed into their own separate recess in the box They are dry to the touch, but when you add a little water to them, it ‘activates’ them. We are referring to what you are using it sounds like! I hope that helps.

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