Friends, it looks like we’re all in the same boat right now…in our own homes. Maryland schools are closed for at least the next two weeks, and the rest of the country seems to be following suit. That means lots of us have kids who will need things to keep them busy! As you’re looking for educational resources, here are 10 at-home art lessons you can do with kids of all ages. Each one features a different style of art and artist, and the majority of the materials required are things you probably already have in your house. If not, you can make substitutions and use what you have on hand to make these projects work. Older kids can do some research on the artists, learning about their lives, styles, and famous works in addition to making their own artwork. I have done these lessons with kids from ages 5-15, and they’ve all turned out great! If you do one per “school day”, these lessons will last for the full two-week school closure! Hope they help you fill the time and inspire the young artists in your house.
You probably already have everything you need to do this project; some colored paper, glue, scissors, and assorted buttons. The bonus with this project is that it doubles as a chance to teach kids about the artist Wassily Kandinsky and his extraordinary condition, synesthesia, which allowed him to “hear” colors and “see” music! Check out the tutorial here.
These fun clay sculptures let kids try surrealism hands-on as they give extra-long legs to their favorite animals in the style of Dali’s Space Elephant sculpture! All you need is some air dry clay, toothpicks, google eyes, and glue. See the full tutorial here. Can’t get to the store for clay? Make your own using baking soda, cornstarch, and water!
Do your kids know that the on-screen games and movies they love are created from tiny pixels, a descendant of the revolutionary style Pointillism. This fun project lets them explore how to create a picture using nothing but dots, and only requires cardstock, q-tips, and paint. For a bonus activity, have them research the life and works of Georges Seurat, the pioneer of this idea, without whom their favorite on-screen things might not exist! Grab the tutorial here.
Kids love Carle’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear. Did you know he creates his art by painting colorful paper, then cutting it into shapes and making collages? Here’s a fun and simple way to imitate his style. Any kind of patterned or colored scrapbook-type paper will work. You can even use patterned tissue paper. Scissors, Mod Podge, a paintbrush, and a tile are the only other things you’ll need. If you don’t have tiles on hand, use a piece of unfinished wood or cardboard as a base. See the full tutorial and lots of examples here.
Pop artist Romero Britto has a very recognizable style. He uses vibrant colors and patterns to convey happiness and hope in his work. Have kids check out some of the partnerships he’s done with companies like Coca-Cola, Mattel, and Disney, then attempt to imitate his style with bright paint markers. We used a wooden photo frame, but you could use any surface, even just paper and markers if that’s all you have on hand. See the full tutorial here.
American pop artist James Rizzi is known for his bright, colorful birds, people, and city skylines. Have kids read a brief biography of the artist and then study how he created his birds using simple shapes and black lines filled with color. Then, it’s time to try copying those shapes and creating colorful birds of their own! We used watercolor paper, watercolors, a pencil, and a black permanent marker. However, if you don’t have watercolors on hand, you could easily use markers, crayons, or colored pencils in their place. See the full instructions here.
O’Keefe is best known for her up-close, detailed paintings of flowers in bright, bold colors. Show kids images of some of her famous works, like Oriental Poppies and Abstract Rose, then it’s time for them to choose a flower to illustrate on their own. If you have real flowers blooming around your home, pick one and use it as a model. If not, a silk flower or a photo of a flower will do. We used watercolors on canvas, but any medium you have will work. Focus on making the flower fill the majority of the canvas/page, overlapping the petals, and coloring in the background as well as the flower. See the full project instructions here.
Kids can learn about Matisse’s style Fauvism (rendering ordinary things in unexpected colors) and imitate his paper cutouts at the same time with this simple art project. All you need is colored paper, scissors, glue, and a pencil…along with your imagination. Have them view a photo of Matisse’s famous work, Icarus, then imitate the style with their own creations! Get the full tutorial and see more examples here.
Recreate one of Van Gogh’s masterpieces using mixed media with this creative project. First, find an image of “Sunflowers” that kids can view while creating their own artwork. Gather supplies like coffee filters, markers, glue, scissors, and colored paper/cardstock. Then, let them get creative, using different materials to make their own version of the famous image. Check out a full tutorial here.
JACKSON POLLOCK SPLATTER ART
If you have a blank canvas (or even just some white posterboard) and some paints on hand, I guarantee kids will love this splatter art project! Choose a sunny day and place your surface outside on a drop cloth. Then, let them load paintbrushes with color and splatter away! This is a great chance for kids to learn about abstract art and discuss how they feel about it compared to other, more realistic styles of art. Have them do a bit of research on Jackson Pollock and view some of his most famous works. The best part about this project is that there’s no wrong way to do it, just have fun!
I hope these projects help you get through the next few weeks, and that your family stays healthy and safe! I’d love to see how your kids enjoy the lessons; if you create some, share your photos with us in the Amy Latta & Friends Facebook group! Even though we can’t be together in person, we can share virtual (germ-free) high fives and be inspired.