Saturday, January 9, 2016

Abstract Painting For Young Ones

Kinder and 1st Gr.

Abstract art is wonderful, but it can be problematic when you want to delve into it. How do you explain it to youngsters? How can you facilitate the creation of intriguing abstract art without it becoming a mushy mess? There are probably many good methods for this, but here is a suggestion for one way to go about it. You will find that their natural brush strokes lend themselves perfectly to abstract art.


Good quality tempera or acrylic paint.
Heavy weight paper.
Images of abstract art.Try Kandinsky,Pollock, Miro, Rothko, or whatever are your favorites.


1. Show some images of abstract art to the students.
2. Ask questions about it. Allow them to answer, one at a time. Sometimes it can be difficult to delve into a "critique" with little ones, but the more you do it, the more they will understand that they must takes turns speaking. 
3. Discuss the idea that abstract art is basically lines, shapes and color.


One of the keys to producing non-muddy abstract paintings is to let the paint dry between steps. This might be tricky if you see your students once a week, as it might take too long to finish the work. Another method is to have them thoroughly dry their brush in between colors by wiping it on a towel without using water.

1.  Give the students 3 or 4 colors of paint. Start by painting some basic shapes anywhere on the paper. Remind them to make them big, and they can't overlap. Don't mix the colors. Demonstrate. You can also have them turn their paper different directions as they paint, so as to get away from making all the shapes in a straight line. Allow the paint to dry.
2. Give the students 3 or 4 different colors than they had before. They will paint in the background and around their shapes. Remind them to paint thickly, and not to paint over their shapes. Allow to dry.
3. Give students black and white paint. Instruct on painting different types of line; zig zag, straight, curly, etc. They will paint these anywhere on the paper. Rinse brush, and use white paint to do more lines. They can outline some of their shapes or make dots. Remind them not to paint a picture of a flower or truck, as these are just lines and shapes! Also, remind them to keep the lines separate and don't paint white on top of black.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Steaming Cups

Colored permanent markers
9X12 white paper
Small pieces of batting
1. This lesson plan allows the students to choose and draw very simple patterns. You could also adapt this to holiday time and students can make a festive tea or coffee cup.
2. Give suggestions to students on drawing very simple patterns in the background and on the cup. Instruct to use basic easy patterns with simple lines and shapes. Also stress that patterns should not be too small and squished together.
You may provide one or more types of cup templates for students to use, or guide them in drawing their own. They can add their own type of handle, and they will also draw a saucer underneath. Instruct on drawing the horizontal line halfway across. They will then draw their patterns on the cup, background and foreground.
3. Students then use markers to color in designs.
4. Take small pieces of batting and roll in your hands and glue securely on, to show steam coming up.




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Magnified Insects


12X15 lime, light or dark green paper
Oil pastels in shades of green
Tempera or acrylic paints
Colored markers
Black paper
Images of various insects
A template for a magnifying glass appr. 5 or 6 inches in diameter.

1. Discuss the concept of magnification with students. This applies to science. If you have actual magnifying glasses to let them experiment with, that is awesome, but you could also show images of various objects in magnification.

2. Discuss sizes, colors and parts of insects. Note that insects can be many varying colors. Allow the students to choose which insect they would like to draw, after looking at various images to get ideas. (You will most likely have a lot of girls choosing ladybugs and boys choosing spiders, so it is up to you on how many of those you end up with!) Emphasize to students that the bugs should have a head, thorax and abdomen. It should also fit onto a 5 or 6 inch piece of paper, so that it will be a "magnified" insect. Direct students to draw it large. They can add colors and details with colored permanent markers. They should also color greens around the insect with oil pastel.

3. Students will draw the grass on their green piece of paper. Instruct on how to draw blades of grass with oil pastels without it being too scribbly.

4. Students can them paint some flowers on their grass with acrylic paint. Some of the paint might go thinly over the oil pastel, so they may need to do another coat. They can also paint a tiny insect somewhere in the grass if they wish.

5. Make some templates of a simple magnifying glass shape and have students trace and cut out of black paper, or you can make the magnifying glasses for them. Students will glue magnifying glass onto their insect paper, making sure it fits correctly over the insect, and trim off the excess paper around the black round part.

6. Students will glue the magnifying glass with insect onto their flower background.




Friday, August 16, 2013

Milk Jug Masks

There are so many possibilities when using milk jugs as the armature for a mask, and of course, there are many types of masks to make. I did this project with 4th gr. We discussed the idea of masks, and looked at different types, from animal, African, masquerade, Chinese, and also "fantasy" masks. I prepared and set out a variety of materials the students could use.
       The major key to success in this project is to have the students brainstorm and draw a sketch of the mask they would like to make. It could be just about any type of mask, but insist that once the sketch is done, they must stick to that idea and not change their minds later. Otherwise, you will have many wasted materials.


1. Gallon milk jugs, cut with scissors halfway down, with the handle side being used for the mask. You can save the other plastic and cut into strips or other shapes to use with the mask. The beauty of these jugs is that it is easy to cut and punch holes using a hole punch and scissors
2. Colored tissue paper
3. Glue and water
4. Paint
5. Materials such as plastic bottle caps, felt, fun foam, feathers, sequins, wire, raffia, pom poms, beads, fabric, chenille stems, and whatever else you can think of!
6. Tacky glue


      1. Make sure that students have done a sketch with a completed idea for a mask. I allowed them to do any type of mask they wished (within reason) but if you want to keep it to a theme, that works too. I provided a pre-drawn drawing of an outline of the shape of the mask to make it a little easier for them to visualize the shape of the mask. Emphasize that the mask front can be with the spout part up or down. Once the sketches are done, keep them and let students use them for reference. Once again, insist that they stick with their original idea. They can add to it as they go along or slightly modify it, but many times they will want to completely change their idea, once they see the different materials set out. This results in wasted materials and a mask that is not good quality.
      2.Have them write their name with marker on the underside of the mask. They will choose a colored tissue paper, tear it into strips and glue onto the jug, covering entirely and smoothly. You may also use newspaper.
      3.Once dry, they may paint the mask any way they wish that fits with their idea.
      4. Adding designs, features and embellishments- I have found it works best to set out only the paint for one or two days, and wait for everyone to finish that step before you move on to the next step. There can be so many materials for this project, that the students can get overwhelmed by the choices if you set them out all at once.
      5. Give them a paper plate or a little bowl for each student to put her/his supplies in. Set them all out on a table, and they can choose what they want to use, and keep it in their bowl for next time. It helps to make sure one or a few students don't take more of a supply than they really need.
      6. You can punch holes in the plastic to tie wire, raffia, or chenille stems to the mask. Bottle caps with glass beads can be used for eyes.
      It is so much fun to see their ideas!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Crab Collages


White paper 9X12
Beige paper
Red felt
Scrap paper
Strips of mat board

1. Cut the beige paper into 3 inch wide strips. Have students tear the strips down lengthwise to give it an uneven look. This will be the sand at the bottom.
2. Cut the 9X12 felt in half. Give each student a half. They will cut an oval shape, or they can trace an oval template, and cut out.
3. Glue the sand strip at the bottom of the white paper.
4. Glue the oval felt shape right above the sand.
5. Have various small pieces of scrap paper. Students will cut out rings and circles and glue them onto the crab body.
6. They can cut several triangle shapes for the legs, and glue those on the sides. Crabs have eight legs, but it might be difficult to fit them all, so they could do 3 on each side.
7. Apply glue across bottom of beige paper, sprinkle sand over it, let dry.
8. Add buttons and beads for the eyes.
9. Cut strips of mat board very thinly on a paper cutter. Cut to be about 4 inches long.
10. Glue these on for antennas.
11. Gather some leaves that would work for the crab claws. Press them in a book overnight to help keep them from drying out. (I learned the hard way, if you don't do this, the leaves will crumble after they are glued on)
12. Cut the leaves in half, and glue on to make the claws
13. Apply ModPodge on the leaves to help preserve them.


Saturday, February 2, 2013


    I found the idea for this project here

 I did this project with Kindergarten
White paper 9X12
Grey paper
Light blue paper
Blue watercolor
White pastel
Black marker
1. Have students draw little waves on the white paper with the white pastel
2. They will paint over the paper with the watercolor, and the waves will show through.
3. They can cut about 3 inches off of the paper, and glue onto the lt. blue paper.
4. Provide a tear drop size template about 4 inches long for the shark. (Or, you may let them free draw the shape)
5. Cut out and glue onto blue watercolored paper at the top.
6. Add a fin at the top and sides.
7. Add a white smile shape.
8. They draw the black eyes and zig zags for the teeth.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Caterpillar's Fruit

    I found this idea here. Very cute, and also has opportunities to bring in other concepts, which is a great thing about book based lessons.
         We read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Carle. We discussed topics such as healthy and unhealthy foods and what is a good food for a caterpillar. We made a list and drawings of the healthy fruits, and counted how many the caterpillar ate. After the project was complete, we ate some fruit just like the caterpillar!
9X12 colored paper
5X7 colored paper
Tempera paint
Tissue paper squares
1. Let the students choose the fruit they would like to make, and give them a 5X7 paper in the appr.color of the fruit.
2 You can provide templates for the fruits, or let them draw it themselves. Draw and cut out. Use glue and water to brush on tissue paper squares on the fruit.
3. Give students a choice of a contrasting color from their fruit. This will be the 9X12 paper.
4. Sponge or dab paint on paper in an analogous color to the paper.
5. Punch a hole into the fruit.
6. Glue the fruit onto the background paper and add stems and leaves.