Winter Squirrel Art Project




Kids paint a wintery background then cut a squirrel from painted paper. An easy winter art project for kids. Glitter optional!

Every year I like to do a birch tree collage project. I’ve done variations of this project but decided I would try a woodland creature instead of a bird. I created a few templates, which worked out only so-so. When I do this project again, I think I’ll stick to an observational drawing project or maybe try a directed line drawing. Here’s a resource for drawing a squirrel from The Graphics Fairy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper for background
  • 12″ x 9″ white paper for trees
  • 12″ x 18″ brown sulphite paper for squirrel
  • White, brown and blue liquid tempera paint to make the background and trees
  • Small piece of tag board (or a plastic gift card) for the trees
  • Brown, Black and gray paint for the squirrel
  • Black oil pastel for drawing
  • Snow glitter (optional)
  • Brushes and water
  • Scissors & glue

Kids paint a wintery background then cut a squirrel from painted paper. An easy winter art project for kids. Glitter optional!

1. Paint a horizon line in the middle of the white sulphite paper. Above the horizon line, paint a sky with the blue and white paint. Below the horizon line, paint some snow (mix white paint with a touch of brown for a creamy look or blue for a cool look)

2. To make the trees, cut 9″ x 12″ paper vertically into one or two trees. Encourage kids to cut the paper with curvy lines. Using black and brown, dip cardboard/tag board into paint and drag across the paper trees. Use the edges to make sharper lines.

3. I used templates but since they didn’t work out that well, I didn’t include them in this lesson. Instead, try drawing a squirrel on the back of a separate piece of paper. We painted a brown piece of paper with a brush and brown, black and white paint. On the back of this paper, we traced our templates and cut out the squirrel. Place trees and squirrel on paper but do not glue until everything is dry. I set all 3 pieces on the drying rack.

4. Once all the pieces are dry, glue trees and squirrel to the background. using an oil pastel, define the squirrels eyes and add whiskers and some claws. Some students brushed Mod-Podge over their snow and sprinkled some snowy glitter on top. Pretty!

Kids paint a wintery background then cut a squirrel from painted paper. An easy winter art project for kids. Glitter optional!

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  • Christie

    LOVE the great positions of the squirrels’ body parts. Looking at them all together it looks like they are all dancing to some creative “beat” out there in the snow. Great movement!!

  • Mrs. Art Lady

    What about the squirrels didn’t work, in your opinion, Patty?
    I absolutely love them – the kids assembled the squirrels with such character and their paint mixing is quite lovely. I think each squirrel has a very unique look and appears almost animated due to the positioning of the legs and arms. If you hadn’t mentioned using templates, I would’ve thought perhaps only the tail was created using a template.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Patty Palmer

      After a lesson I always think about the child’s experience. Things like how they moved from one step to the next, at what step they were enjoying the most, when they were most creative….that sort of thing. The templates seemed to get in the way this time. They enjoyed the background and tree process so much that by the time we got to tracing the squirrel, it felt like their creative energy was zapped. I’m glad you like it. In the end, the children enjoyed the process and created a beautiful piece of art.
      I think I might be too over-analytical at times!

      • Lisa

        Hi, I love you stuff and like sharing it with my homeschooled daughter. Is there anyway you might consider uploading the templates for people who are a little less creative.

        • Patty Palmer

          Hi Lisa,
          I’m so sorry, but I no longer have them. I wasn’t overly fond of them for this lesson, so I chucked them! You might try printing out a drawing of a squirrel and using that as a template.

  • Deanna

    Had so much fun with the project! I made it more of a fall theme and we used dry brush technique for the sky and ground. Students had fun positioning thier squirrels and the best was letting them add the details (face, claws, acorns) with little directions from me. The personalities came out and they turned out great! My students had so much fun!

    • Patty

      I’m so happy! When I did this project with the 2nd graders, I felt that it was hard for them to do…a lot of angry looking squirrels! What grade did you do this with?

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