Classic art projects for kids. With all the art techniques and kids project ideas floating around on Pinterest and blogs, it can be unclear to get to the basics to start your kids with. I think a handful of classic children’s art projects are an excellent foundation for kids to draw to art for a lifetime. (I imagine an idyllic world full of people who joyfully and fearlessly make art all their lives).
These are the art plans I turned up with, and I hope you also did. The greatest of them use minimum craft stores, or at least they’re easy enough for anyone to do. Some are messy, some aren’t, but all are great introductions to children’s artistic processes of landscape drawing.
The first is the footprints of the potato. I did them a few years ago with Beckett, and we both had a great time. Potatoes are fun in general, and when you start cutting and printing them, all kinds of magic happens.
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Tips for printing potatoes:
Don’t be tempted to eat raw potatoes. Keep your forms relatively simple; complicated cutting is not easy with potatoes. Blot excess moisture from the potato before spreading the paint. You can use a brayer to apply the paint or a foam brush. (The brayer will add the color more evenly.)
Art of personal identification
Most kids have a little one finger, so they can use it to make art. Press them onto stamp blocks or color them with washable markers, press them onto paper, and turn prints into fun creatures using thin tags. Try Sharpies or Ultra-thin Fine liners.
Weave of branches
Weave with branches and threads. Your kids may need to start the process depending on their age or confidence level, but they can learn the knitting technique with this fun nature project. Alternative: The eyes of God, that classic field job.
I love paper collages because you can use almost any paper, and then you can cut, tear or punch the paper into shapes to create all kinds of collages. It is open art at its finest. Try using old book pages or book page scans, magazine pages, colored tissue paper, art paper, newspapers, colored paper, the inside of security envelopes, and even wax paper. Keep a small trash can running. We also enjoyed creating mixed media texture collages a few years ago. And here is the paper collage transformed into sculpture.
Don’t be put off by the incredible mess of the cast. It’s so messy. (See what I’m doing there? I’m walking you around but trying to intrigue you at the same time.) It is elementary to clean, and the kids are fascinated. And in fact, plaster masks use pre-cast strips that make them a little less fiddly. You can give your kids a little art history lesson by making this African mask project.
Rub with crayons
I’m not sure why it was always my favorite art activity as a kid, but maybe it was because of the wow factor. Holding the paper over a texture and rubbing the side of the crayon into the form is very satisfying and is instant gratification. It’s fun to make collages or use them as backgrounds for art projects.
Use beeswax crayons for a more vibrant color. The leaves create excellent textures for rubbing. Prepare paper and crayons to rub on the go when you come across surfaces in the world.
To paint with the fingers
If an award existed for the “most utmost classic” children’s art project, finger painting would win hands down. Isn’t it funny how kids dive right into a cup of fresh paint and gleefully smear it all over the paper in front of them while we adults throw ourselves back into the mess? I challenge you to finger paint with your child and see how much fun he is—bonus points for body painting.
Okay, maybe this is more of an art font than an actual project, but I think oil pastels are a fantastic classic art font for kids, mainly used on black paper to bring out the color. When kids use them for the first time, everyone probably wonders why they should go back to using old crayons. It is a great oil pastel project for all ages because they can tackle it in more or more minor detail.
Knit with your fingers
Finger knitting has excellent benefits for babies:
Introduce children to the use of yarn. Show them the concept of making something using a long string and magic loop/stitch techniques. It is relaxing, ideal for children (like mine) with anxiety. You come across a long rope that you can glue Google eyes on, and suddenly your kid has a snake that they made. His children cannot hit each other while their fingers are full of thread.
Paper weaving is excellent because you can make it as simple as possible by weaving strips of colored paper, or you can liven it up entirely by creating your own printed or painted cards and then incorporating them together. Young children will love finger knitting neon-colored construction paper or wallpaper, while middle school kids can have fun weaving patterns onto Gelli plates or watercolor papers. Here’s how to make a simple paper mat.
Coil pot and pinch
If you have not made these clay pots, you have not lived. Or something similar. Either way, it’s a great introduction to working with clay to learn how to make pinch pots and spiral pots. These seemingly simple techniques are perfect starter projects to get acquainted with three-dimensional work and are the weaving and the reverse of manual construction with the world of clay.
It is pretty challenging to go through childhood without having to die at least once. At its most basic, tie-dyeing is such an exciting craft technique for younger children that they can later enjoy wearing their creations. Going a little further can be an exploration of the patterns’ dyes, colors, and techniques. I dyed a set of napkins with each child to bring to school with lunches. They loved them until they got too cold to repack.
Tape resists paint
Another magical art project that easy. Basically, spread some masking tape (we always use blue masking tape) and paint over it, then remove the paint to see the fantastic results. The clean shapes left by the video look good no matter how messy the color is! Get into the spring mindset with this ribbon-resistant floral project.
It’s total torture for me to throw out the Styrofoam meat trays and take out containers, and not just because they’re horrible for the environment. I always feel a great need to make Styrofoam prints with them.
An alternative to these trays is craft foam, which will likely never break in a million years, but sometimes it’s almost impossible to resist buying. Don’t forget to bring a paint roller (brayer) and cardstock or printing paper.