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Re: Fun and Creative ideas for Kindergarten lessons


From: Susan Holland (Susan_Holland_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 15:05:39 PDT

here are some ideas I've compiled from list members from past threads. I'm
always looking for more ideas for the kinders myself! This is a bunch of
stuff, so I hope the e-mail isn't too big!

Does anyone have any creative project ideas for Kindergartners? My time with
them was cut, and now I only have them for half an hour once a week. The
classes have 24 students each. I feel like I've gotten in a rut with
construction paper projects and coloring, because clean-up for painting or clay
was such a chore with the short class period. I welcome any unique ideas that
have worked for you!
Thanks, Jodi (Westlake,OH)
Dear Jody and List I find it easiest to base my art lessons on their recent
book experiences or shared experience - in other words, especially with this
age group I make a point to touch base with the teacher. Certainly the
illustrators of early children's literature provide good art models for
children this age. I make large murals with Kindergarten classes by letting
them make small pieces and putting them together next class. - Painting paper
for an Eric Carle style illustrations one day, cutting the next and pasting is
a good lesson. It is difficult to fit a meaningful lesson into a 30 minute
slot. Recently after a big snowstorm- that was a powerful shared experience. I
asked the teacher to reread "A Snowy Day" Keats and "Snowballs" For the class I
had them print their names and we talked through how to cut squares of
wallpaper into small medium and large circles which we glued onto the sheet of
paper(In the interest of time I went round with the gluepot). Next class we
will either collage/draw/ or paint the rest of the body /background. This
project may well take three weeks. still playing
Peter Gorham
Here are two things I just did with my K/1s (and one coming up) - I do have
them for 1 hour - but you can separate these with a demo/exploration one week,
and final the next. Special effects watercolor - talked about
fore-mid-background - and overlapping. Used a light blue crayon to draw a
winter scene - pine trees, fence - snowman if they wanted... Greens and browns
for trees and fence - white for ground... Leave the sky blank - a very watered
down blue wash over the entire paper - liquid watercolors in droppers (blue,
turquoise and purple) dragged across the 'sky' - sprinkle with salt. They
looked great - student grade watercolor paper. Found this in a book - shiny
collages - tissue paper and glue and Ks - FUN!!! but this worked. I covered 10"
x 15" poster board with foil. Cut tissue into a variety of squares and
rectangles. Brush foil with watered down glue... layer tissue, brush with glue
- then embellish with threads, seed beads and sequins. We put them in the hall
to dry and when I turned the corner to return to my room - they were striking.
Reminded me of embellished, encrusted quilts. So - we made smaller squares the
next time back - I will assemble on a board/backing and have a great patchwork
embellished quilt to add to our permanent collection of art work in the halls.
Next we are drawing with fabric - I have fabric craps sorted by color - cut
into small squares - and found sheets of packing Styrofoam... I cut those into
squares and they will draw a very simple shape or two on the foam with sharpie
... use a pencil point to push the fabric into the foam creating a hole (dip
into glue first) - kind of a texture/textile collage
- Ellen
Please go to my website and look at free sample ideas from my books about art
for kids. All my projects are easy but spiffy looking, using common materials.
K's love physical involvement in their art. Take a peek at the following....
Spatula Resist Draw with crayon on white paper. Press hard for bright lines and
colored-in shapes. Abstract lines work well for this project, but any drawing
is fine. Just color hard and bright. Paint over the crayoned design with any
thinned paint color (*** May I say that Liquid Watercolors from Discount School
Supply are impressive!), and then, for the part they love, take a straight edge
or spatula and scrape the wet paint away, leaving a bright crayon resist. (Have
some paper towels to mop up the extra paint.) The resist is almost dry at this
point, and the colors vibrant. * Exciting Variation: If you are willing, fill
little spray bottles with the liquid watercolors, and let the kids spray the
paint over the crayon drawing. Then scrape away wet paint with spatula or
straight edge. -------- Only for the Adventurous, Fun-Loving Teacher who does
NOT have a headache or distractions of any kind: Do with a small group for a
"treat", reward, or motivational activity. POW! Paint ( from The Big Messy Art
Book) If you like messy and thrilling rolled into one exciting art project,
this is it! Place the ingredients in a baggie, stand back, and POW! An
explosive piece of art! Materials * large piece of paper * measuring cups and
spoons * paper towels * thin, bright paint of any kind * scissors * white
vinegar * baking soda * sandwich size, thin!, ziplock plastic baggies Process
1. Spread out a large sheet of plain paper on the ground outside or in a nice
big space inside. --- Prepare the paint bags: 2. Start by cutting a paper towel
into fourths. Put 2 tablespoons (30ml) baking soda into the middle of a paper
towel square. 3. To make a paper towel pillow to hold the baking soda, fold
over the sides and then the ends of the paper towel around the pile of baking
soda. Place the pillow of baking soda into a thin sandwich sized ziplock
baggie. 4. Add 2 teaspoons (10ml) paint to 1/2 to 1 cup (250ml) white vinegar.
Pour the colored vinegar into the baggie with the baking soda pillow. Quickly
close the baggie and place it on the big piece of paper. 5. Stand back! The
baking soda and vinegar will mix and pop the bag open to explode paint onto the
paper. (Hint: I've found that if the baggie is filled with air as well as the
other ingredients, it adds to the explosive results.) 6. Do many explosions for
one painting or one explosion per painting. Variations * Experiment with
different types of paint or food coloring. * Explore the use of cardboard or
extra heavy paper, bigger bags, and/or more ingredients. Not having the effects
you wanted? Fill a baggie with a little paint and lots of air. Now, STOMP on it
to explode the paint ! (wear appropriate clothing - bare feet are good - and
have cleanup supplies) POW! Paint is messy and thrilling rolled into one! I
wanted to add that setting up four little projects for the kids to go to works
well. Four tables of six kids each. Have table 1. with a simple collage
activity, 2. simple crayon activity, 3. simple printing activity, and 4. with a
more complicated painting or sculpture activity. This way, you can essentially
work with one group at table 4. while the other kids are busy doing less
complicated projects. ---------------- NEW ----------------------- MaryAnn F.
Kohl Bright Ring Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 31338
Bellingham, WA 98228-3338
360-383-0001 fax
Hi, Jody! Just introduced sculpture to my kids after the snow fell over break.
Pick out a few examples from prints and discuss what a sculpture is, how it is
different than 2 dimensional work, and talk about the different mediums you can
use. I asked my k's if they had seen any sculptures on the way to school. (One
of the kids mentioned on of those silly geese with clothes on, no offense to
anyone that may have one, never saw them until I moved to Ohio!) Of course,
there were lots of "Snowmen!!!" I told them we were going to make snowmen from
paper bags. Then we stuffed one brown lunch bag with paper towels and then slid
another over the top to make a stand-up rectangle. I guess if you didn't want
to paint it white, you could buy white lunch bags. The following week, I had
them paint them white. I use little plastic tartar sauce containers, the kind
you get at fast food restaurants, to put white paint in and I line them up in a
cardboard box that I collect from the soda machine man. Put it in a plastic bag
and it will stay soft for a couple days. Then I have pretorn pieces of old roll
paper to use as placemats. A dishpan of soapy water is sitting in the sink in
which to put dirty brushes when they are finished. I also have their sculptures
standing six to a box (soda box again) and when they are passed out, they paint
and return them to the box. Oh, I also have a bucket of sudsy water, low level,
and a sponge in three areas with a roll of paper towels to wash hands. As the
kids file into the art room, I pass out art shirts and the teacher and aide
help get them dressed. They sit in meeting for 5 minutes, while we review and I
show them what I want them to do. Slam bam, their in, bags painted, clean-up is
a breeze and away they go! If some kids paint faster and I have anyone absent,
I have them paint theirs or I ask who wants help getting their bag finished.
Next week, we will read "Snowballs" by Lois Ehlert, and start to glue jazz on
the bags. This may take two weeks. But, the kids love it. Hope this helps, Sandy
 MaryAnn, I tried this at the beginning of school to introduce the kids to the
art room, and the routines and to allow time for them to experience and learn
the proper way to use certain tools and materials and proper clean-up. I was
able to float from station to station and there was lots of opporturnity to
work one-on-one and get to know all those little faces. I did this for the
first month and changed one station each week. It worked like a charm! Thanks
for the great idea! Sandy
I plunge right into art history with my kinders. Of course, in my district the
kids have already had 3 years of pre-school- oops- 4 actually, if you count
Mommy and Me classes at one year old! I say that kids who have been through
"Pre-Natal Pre-School" are ready for the Masters! LOL... Seriously, it's
amazing to hear 4-5 yr olds discussing how Monet blended cool colors, how van
Gogh made brushstrokes, and Cezanne painted still lifes. Even in my
less-than-privileged former district I put an emphasis on fine art even at this
level, and it works!
Here's an example of one of these lessons. Probably everyone does this one, so
humor me. But, maybe I have a little different twist by using very watered down
tempera and fingerpainting paper. Anyway, maybe there is a new teacher out
there who can use this lesson..... Cool Color Blending Motivated by Monet's
Waterlilies Materials: Finger painting paper, water, large brushes, blue,
green, violet tempera paint, low flat containers, white tempera paint and
little pink/light yellow for middles OR coffee filters and pink/yellow tissue
paper, green construction paper. Time: 2-3 sessions
I show them Waterliles (yes, I believe at this age it is very important to show
the art first because kinders have very little frame of reference). We discuss
what a pond is and how the flowers grow on top of the water with the roots
reaching the bottom. I ask who has ever been to a pond and let them relate
their real life experiences in discussion. They describe the painting by
identifying colors and what the "see" in the painting and how the painting
makes them feel . We talk about cool colors and how to remember them because
they often represent cool waters. Important vocabulary is the word "blend" and
they understand it is another word for mix. I demo blending with "horizontal"
brushstokes. Ask students to paint their fingerpaint paper with water first.
Then, cover paper with the watered down tempera, allowing colors to run. I find
supplying the paint this way really saves time and facilitates the blending
process. On the fingerpainting paper the paint will dry to look like actual
water, or pools of color. Session 2: Review discussion. Either use white
tempera for the lilies, or glue down white coffee filters and crumble tissue
for middle. While the paint is drying, distribute rectangles or squares of
green construction paper and demo rounding the corners for the lily pads. Glue
down lily pads under flower petals.
Now, the Kinder Cezanne lesson is successful for this age, also. I use craypas,
material, wallpaper, and construction paper. Will save that one for another
Susan on Long Island
 I introduced my kinders to Paul Giovanopoulos. Then we took 4 separate class
periods to create 4 different "paintings" using crayon, marker, tempera paint
and cut paper. Each child picked a simple subject such as an umbrella or
rainbow, etc. Then each week we created our pictures using the different
medium. Hope this helps.
Fabric craps.... the leftovers, remains, detritus, debris, litter, waste,
sweepings, crud, droppings, trash - what you are left with... what do you call
them? so much for my typing skills and dependence on spell check - guess I'll
stay away from the pronged eating utensil....
The kindergarten thread about "projects" got me thinking about some lessons
with which my kindergarten artists have been successful. As I've said before,
I'm really a frustrated high school art teacher (LOL) who virtually takes many
lessons for older students and adapts them for younger ones. IMO, it's not as
much the subject matter, as it is the presentation- how ones breaks it down so
the lesson becomes age appropriate. This might seem too sophisticated, but
honest, 4-5 year olds can do this and understand the concept! Centered Around
Cezanne Materials: manilla tagboard, wallpaper samples or pieces of fabric,
construction paper in shades of brown and gold for the baskets and assorted
large pieces for the background, glue, Craypas, or other oil pastels, REAL
pieces of fruit. Time: 3-4 40 min. sessions Session 1 &2: I begin by showing my
students a typical Cezanne still life with fruit. Discuss the subject matter by
having them identify what they see in the picture. Elicit from them that not
only is the fruit in the basket, but some has spilled onto the table. Note:
This is Composition 101..LOL.. They are learning that an artist can place
things in his paintings anyway he/she wants and not always the way it "should"
look, as in "neatly in the basket". I explain what a still life is and it
becomes the vocab word of the day. Next, (and this is sooo much fun when the
little ones discover) hide an apple behind your back. Find one that is more
than just red. Ask what color the apple is. I've never had one child NOT say
red. But, lo and behold, and I'm so animated with this, I could be up for an
Academy Award, I present a red apple for them to examine and they discover many
colors in the skin! Continue with other fruit and allow them to SEE. I explain
that an artist must really see and not just look. Go back to the fruit in the
painting and let them discover how Cezanne saw all the colors of the fruit and
painted them that way. Cut out shapes of fruit from manilla tagboard, or give
them stencils to cut their own. They will need to use oil pastels to color and
blend. Older grades can draw and cut their own shapes. Next, place a piece of
fruit in the middle of each table. I rotate the fruit as they finish. The goal
is to allow them to really study the colors and to color in the tagboard shapes
accordingly. I demo first how to blend the oil pastels with a tissue. Session
3-4: I make stencils of all shapes of baskets. The kinders trace and cut these
out. I give the more advanced kids the more difficult cutting (handles on the
baskets). Older grades can draw and cut out their own. Next, I show examples of
real baskets and they note the weaving. We discuss how the reeds of the basket
are vertical, horizonal, or diagonal (great vocab) and how they cross
over-under. With craypas, they draw a pattern on their baskets. Distribute
pieces of wallpaper or fabric for the tablecloth, which the children glue down.
On that they glue down the basket. Stress that the basket should only be glued
on the bottom, so that the fruit can be glued down inside the top of the
basket. I also remind them that as artists they can decide how and where the
fruit will be arranged and many include fruit on the "tablecloth". Painting a
background, or drawing a pattern for the background in craypas, is another
option. Do this before you glue everything down. Hope someone can use this
Susan on Long Island
How about Kandinsky and shapes? The project is a non-objective using shape
stencils. They trace on 12x18 white construction paper with a sharpie.
Watercolor in the shapes then the background.
You can do a simple clay project using a slab and various texture. Do a lesson
on texture one class and maybe do a texture collage. Next class, roll out clay
and press various objects into it. Fire and paint with water colors or use air
dry and any kind of paint you have.
If you still want to try paint. I put the colors on a paper plate for each
table and another plate for mixing. This way it all get's thrown out(paint) and
they still get to paint.
I've done a still life with that rubbing activity. I premade stencils of
different fruits that the kids could trace. They traced, cut out, created a
bowl our of colored paper and placed the fruits, overlapping the objects. Then
drew the line for the table top and added designs for the table cloth. Turned
out really cute.
 I just learned a great new tempera painting method - NO WATER. Just cover the
tables with newspaper, squeeze a blob of each color you need on a piece of
manilla paper (about 3-4 children can share). Demonstrate how they should dip
their brushes into the edges of the paint, not the middle. Before they change
colors they should wipe their brushes as best they can on the newspaper. What
happens is that since their is always a little bit of the previous color, they
get very rich colors, not straight from the bottle. Also, no water is an
absolute pleasure. I
 did this with four classes this week, Kinder and first grade, and it made
tempera painting a LOT easier. NO spills either. I give them a damp paper
towel to wipe hands, too many kids for one sink.
    Painting is very rewarding in kindergarten because they really get into
the spreading of the paint brush with color on the paper. They love the colors
mixed into the water cup as they rinse their brush. Try watercolors first
before you have them do tempera paint. Also buy those cheap white enamel 6
cup palettes from the art supply store for tempera painting. They use less
paint and if they mix them all and make mud by accident, there's only a couple
of drops of nasty paint to throw away. The palettes can air dry and after a
few days the old tempera paint comes off whole and you can throw the paint in
the garbage and rinse them clean. I'm saving tons of paint this year because I
bought twenty five palettes for the class.
Hi Mark,
I don't teach pre-k, but a few of my lessons can be adapted to fit pre-k. My
big sculpture project for kindergarten is making pinch pots. I buy Crayola
Model Magic Clay because it's so easy to use with the little ones. (It's
expensive, but if your district can afford it you should get it for the little
ones.) I ask them what people a long time ago used to put their food and water
in. When they say bowls I explain that a long time ago people couldn't go to a
store and buy bowls because there weren't stores. We end up talking about how
clay comes from the earth. Then we pinch the pots. The second class we paint
them with tempera paint. It works great on Model Magic. The third class we
use the new Elmer's Glue Glitter Sticks to do patterns and designs around the
edges of the pots. We also use sharpie markers to write our names on the
bottom. I see the kindergarten for 30 minutes per week. They're big classes
with about 24 kids in each. Another project is one that I'm doing in two
weeks. We're doing a 100th day activity. We're going to talk about sculpture
being high, deep, and wide. We're then going to make sculptures out of 100
toothpicks and 100 marshmallows. The last idea for you is to play "The
Sculpture Game". I have had my kids play this for years now. We talk about
what makes a sculpture a sculpture. Then they start by shaking it out and on
the count of three they have to freeze like a sculpture. Sometimes I tell them
it has to be a brand new sculpture that they've never seen before. Sometimes
it has to be a sculpture they've seen in a museum or park before. Sometimes
they have to be animal sculptures. And so on. It's great for ending a class
because they're so quiet and I can run around the room and clean up the little
things that they forgot to clean up. I'm sure it could work with pre-k
too...maybe even show them some pictures in books of sculptures in museums.
Well, I just thought maybe you could use some of my ideas. Enjoy!
I get lots of crescent mat board free from different framing shops. They vary
in size or I cut them into odd shapes and sizes. about a foot large. On
several sides I cut slots and then the little ones can place the slots
together to form towers of various shapes and sizes. I have not done this
with anyone lower than kindergarten however. Might
work for dexterous preK Roberta
Try chunks of scrap styrofoam and toothpicks. I find that my pre-k or PPCD
classes don't really care much for sculpture. I do let them work with clay,
usually homemade stuff. They also like building with boxes, however, I doubt
that they understand "sculpture", per se. ******

I have been catching up with January I realize this is a couple
of weeks after the fact. A long time ago, in the 20th century, I taught
k-8th grade. Two much loved kindergarten art experiences were: the
witches cottage( I read a bit from Hanzel and GreteL): This was a minimal
painting experience. white tempera/ low cups/brushes/ and construction paper.
I usually used little blue or tan paper.They created their gingerbread house
the first week... treating the paint like frosting. Get the consistency of the
paint so it comes off the brush easily.The next week after discussing candy
and candy color we used oil pastel to embellish.
 The second experience was aquarium pictures. This assumes you can get
transparency sheets from your general supplies. Or use saran wrap. I would
experiment with this on your own first, because these need a certain
"looseness" to get the occupants to "swim". Create fish, and sea life... sea
horses etc... on stiff paper like tag. one week. Another week make background
scenes. The third week lay the items on the background. shake a dash of
glitter or sprinkle of some sort. then staple or tape or attach the saran
wrap or transparency. I remember you needed adults to do that. Basically you
made a kind of shaker or card/art work with moving parts. I am wondering if
the sleeves you buy in office supply stores ( 100 to box) might work as well.
--- Menninghaus Randy ( yes it is snowing here in Maine.... what a surprise
How about giving them different length and width strips and have them bend,
fold and curl to create a sculpture. I use cardboard for the base and they
glue strips on base, they look great and the kids love them. We pretend like
it is an amusement park.
You can order little wooden shapes. You can order a big bag of them. They are
really neat. I think they are discards from a furniture maker. Have the
children glue these together - about 6 pieces for each child. Use tacky glue
so it sets up fast. Glue it all to stiff cardboard. The next time you meet
the children, they can paint their sculptures. Have them paint solid colors
first. Then the more advanced ones could use a smaller brush to paint some
patterns on top of the solid colors. Marisol might be a good artist to show
Sky in NJ

Mark, what about those things that look like packaging peanuts and all you have
to do is wet them and they stick together? Some Styrofoam peanuts work the
very same way. Someone on the list mentioned they had used them. You would
just have to make sure that noone decided to wet them in their mouth!

roll clay in Fabric lace doilies, and then roll up into a vase. roll clay into
snakes, and push together to make small plates (trivets) pinch pots roll clay
out, use cookie cutters, and make wind chimes roll clay out, get a basket full
of items that have texture or can make impressions, and have kids press into
the clay with the the items, making the impression. (After the clay is fired,
and before you glaze it, it can be used to pour paper pulp into to make a
"positive" impression of handmade paper. Be sure you spray a little PAM into
the clay mold first. Can pour plaster into as well.) Then, you can glaze and
fire the clay: Voila! Two or Three projects from one!
Kathy Tickner
Byron Excelsior Middle School (who also taught Montessori Pre-school and
Kindergarten for 5 years)
This is a lesson we're doing this week, as it is the height of dandelion season
here. This is a one-class lesson based on close observation and experimentation
with media. Collect dandelions in various stages of growth... I dug one huge
one with the root, picked a batch of flowers, flowers going to seed, and the
seed puffs. Discussion included dandelion as pest, dandelion as flower,
dandelion as food, and how they grow. We looked at how the stems grow long when
they go to seed, talked about why they might do that, we looked at the shape
of the leaves (triangles, Christmas trees, and arrows were the descriptions
children came up with), the soft light seeds, and all of the different colors
we saw in the leaves, stems, flowers and seeds. I used a 10x18 sheet of royal
blue construction paper to demo draw at the bottom of the sheet (the long way)
dandelion plants, leaves, and stems, shorter stems for the flowers, and longer,
sometimes curly stems for the seed puffs with craypas. Each group had two cups
of tempera paint, white and yellow, with a large watercolor brush for each
color. I demoed putting a thick round blob of paint at the top of each stem to
represent the flowers and seed puffs. After painting 3 or 4 or these, use a
toothpick to draw paint out from the middle of each paint circle to form the
flower petals and the seeds. Then continue adding paint to the other stems
(Have them stop to do the toothpick part after 3 or 4 blobs or the paint will
dry out too much.) I also showed them how after dipping the toothpick in white
paint, they could use it to paint seeds floating away in the breeze. Before
using paint for the flowers, I told the children that they could also draw
bugs and butterflies, grass and other details with the craypas if they wished.
Found it best to delay putting out the paint as long as possible. We did it
this time as bug's eye view, but I could see doing bird's eye view as well,
using green paper and filling the whole page with dandelions, maybe a 3D
 ---i use this one every year to start them on painting and it is always a hit
with kids, teachers, parents. it takes three 45 minute periods. 1st day i
demonstrate basic tempera painting skills; holding the brush, dipping in paint,
brush techniques, rinsing, where the drying rack is located and how to use it.
what we paint is circles and i give them an egg carton lid with brown paint at
one end and green at the other, and a 1" brush. we also use large white
paper... 18x24. they can experiment with the colors, mix if they want to on
their paper. i give them just enough time to paint 3-6 circles of different
sizes, then we model/practice clean-up routine.
2nd day i bring in sunflowers and we have a little science lesson examining the
parts of the sunflower especially focusing on the shapes and colors of the
petals, stems and leaves. a quick review of procedure and then we turn our
circles into sunflowers by adding yellow ovals around the circles - i put lots
of yellow paint in the lids this time. as soon as one table is done with their
petals. i get out an empty green paint bottle and say "uh oh! what'll we do
now?" someone usually says to mix up some green and of course i have some red
and blue handy and we have a little experiment to see if one of those will work
with the left over yellow. as the kids finish their petals i give them a squirt
of blue and they get to work on the stems and leaves. usually they have just
about enough time to finish the stems and a few leaves and then clean up.
3rd day. same painting procedure but now we use blue tempera on one end of the
lid and white on the other - mix on the paper to make sky/clouds all around the
spaces that are left. after clean up i allow some time to look at/discuss some
sunflower paintings by other artists...van gogh of course, and georgia
o'kkeefe, and a couple of others i have from calendars. these pictures are
always so exciting and painterly, teachers in my buildings ask when they're
going to be done, and younger siblings want to know if they can do one like
their older brother or sister did, etc.
linda in michigan
1st day with kinders I show them the art room and read dr. seuss' "My Many
Colored Days". Then we talk about what the book means. There are usually a
couple of students in each class who get that the colors mean emotions. Their
first kindergarten art assignment is to draw a self-portrait (a picture of
yourself) about how they feel on the first day of kindergarten. Happy,
scared, sad, excited, etc. They do this drawing on their portfolio cover.
Then the get to explore the art room and choose from three free activities:
free draw, playing with blocks or looking at art books.
2nd art class with kinders. I will read some book having to do with the color
blue. Can't remember one at this moment. During this lesson I introduce
painting to them. We talk about how we use the brush, where I our paintings
go when we are finished, how we clean up, etc. And we do a "blue painting"
3rd art class with kinders. I usually read a book called "Little Blue, Little
Yellow" (I know most of you know this book) and we do a painting lesson where
the students get blue and yellow paint. In this lesson we talk about using a
mixing tray to mix colors. Not mixing on the paper, etc. The 4th lesson
with kinders, I we usually have a discussion about the colors
red and blue. I make a vinn (is that correct?) diagram (you know with the 2
overlapping circles). We list things that are blue, things that are red, and
things that are both.....and we talk about the color purple. Then the
students get blue and red paint.
5th lesson with guessed it.....I have several different
lessons for mixing yellow and red. I also start observation painting with
this lesson. Sometimes I will put out pumpkins or we might do leaves...etc.
 6th art lesson with kinders and last painting lesson (for a while) I read a
story called "The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments" This books
introduces the primary colors and color mixing. I put out all three primary
colors and we do a painting. So that gets me through the end of September,
beginning of October. Hope that helps!!! I am luck in that the kindergarten
classroom teachers spend the first month mixing colors as part of their
science curriculum. So I don't have to introduce each color individually. I
spend a lot of time on vocabulary, primary colors, and what they are,
secondary colors, and what they are.
Fish bowls: ( wax resist with watercolor wash), Animal outlines (outline
animals with yarn), symmetrical animal color prints ( folded paper paint blot
prints) Shape robots ( cut paper collage using shapes) Paper construction of
imaginary playground. Rainbow paintings in landscapes, puppets, fancy
headdresses. I have also had them make a book using the elements of art- one
for each page, then bound them together. Also, we do a tree for each season. (
paint), Family and self portraits. I do circus and farm related work too. Last
year, someone on the list suggested birds in nests as a clay pro- which I did
and was a big success. But, I used plaster which I MUCH prefer for them,
cleaner, air dries, etc, I had them place them on a cardboard w/ their name and
painted them the following week. I really like plaster! I know what you mean
about developing lessons for them, they work at such different paces. And they
are always done in one or maybe two classes. ( some in 5 minutes) If you want
to know how I teach any of these, email me- I do jump right in with elements
and artists with them. I find that they can learn a lot that year.
******My first day with kinders I have copy paper with the poem:
Look at me
as busy as a bee
on my first day of school
at _____________ elementary!
Above this poem we draw a simple bee. I only give them yellow and black
crayons. The first 9 weeks are tough cause you're not only trying to teach them
about art but basic school rules (stay in your seat, raise your hand, don't
just leave the room, line up, ...... ). I study a lot of illustrators with them
- Marc Brown, Eric Carle, Jim Henson (was he an illustrator???). I find I get a
lot more response drawing what they know - Clifford, Big Bird, etc. I have an
adorable cut paper project on Cookie Monster - I'll take some pictures and post
them when I get back to school along with the exact paper measurements (I cut
the paper to size to save time and paper).
I have several kinders lessons posted on my site. I am glad we have this thread
cause I also struggle with ideas for them - they go through projects so quickly!
Some ideas that I tend to use every year for Kdg:

Lines that can be: Music -- listening to music (I like Strauss's "Gypsy
Baron" overture -- has lots of variety), drawing with markers, then wetting
some of the lines with a wet paintbrush Sculptures -- they use twisteez
wire and adorn with bits of paper tubes, beads, etc. Emphasis on 3-D
Movement -- different kinds of lines that move across their large paper --
crayons seem to work the best for this Texture -- lines drawn carefully
with markers (they take turns telling others what kinds of lines to draw), then
using Elmer's glue to carefully trace over the lines. Following week rubbings
are made over the textured lines (along with spaghetti and string)
Invitations -- 36" roll paper cut into 36 x 36 square, folded into 4 triangles.
Each kid draws only on their triangle, but extends an occasional line toward
the fold as an "invitation" to their neighbor to draw their own line from their
triangle over to the fold, with cray-pas Wet -- watercolor on wet paper
Dry -- watercolor lines on dry paper Footsteps -- outdoors on a snowy day
-- they drag their feet thru the snow to create line "drawings" And then the
ever-popular color mixing with play dough -- just 2 colors at a time.
Liz in rural NY
Congrats on your new K-5 position! I absolutely love that age level. They're
so enthusiastic! And ya get lots of hugs. I find visual aids help with
classroom management -- like being able to point to a picture that says "Shhh!"
and ask only "Are you doing this?" For some weird reason, that always gets
their attention! And I made a sign I'll put into play as the school year wears
on and I'm not satisfied that the little ones (K-2) are really towing the line
-- It's laminated and has three sections -- Sit, Be Quiet and Follow
Directions. Each section has separate little shapes that are also laminated --
for ex, Sit has 6 green circles, Be Quiet has 6 purple triangles, etc. If they
are not doing one of those things I'll move the shapes down to the "You Forgot"
section at the bottom. (there's that putty stuff on the back of the shapes).
It's usually enough for me to just head in the direction of the sign, but if I
do have to move a shape down it's quite obvious that I'm disappointed with
their behavior. Just seeing it in front of them seems to add importance to my
words. If 3 shapes go down they'll get heads down, quiet time. For supply
people, above each of the four places at their tables is a picture by a famous
artist (I'm able to hang pics over their seats -- no alarms go off at our
school!) Each week a different artist is the supply person, so for example,
the kid sitting under "Van Gogh" is the supply person. For end of class line-up
I ask closure questions that they have to answer in order to be able to line
up. Oh, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I do keep a jar of skittles handy
for those times when I catch a table being really good.
Liz in rural NY
Here is one lesson I do. We take the white coffee filters and create designs
with watercolor markers on them. You can talk about color, design, radial
design, etc. I usually let them do more than one if there is time and they
enjoy it. Next, I go around the room and spray each filter with water and the
kiddos watch it spread and mix. They love it and compare designs. We set them
on the drying rack until the next class.
We take pipe cleaners and tie the filters in the middle and create
butterflies. These can be displayed in a million different ways. Sometimes I
take brown kraft paper and twist it to make a large tree and staple it on a
wall. They children attach their butterflies with tape and we have a beautiful
Butterfly Tree!!
 I do discourage mixing on paper as I want them to learn some control and also
not make mud! I know...many of you will get upset by this!!! Please no
letters!! I do it for the same reason people teach the multiplication
tables! My art classes are not experimental free for alls! The lessons are
flexible and allow for plenty of creativity. But my feeling is that the more
technical skills they have, the more they can give form to their creativity.
One thing I see...and I am sure all of you see it too, is that students have
these wonderful ideas...but are often unable to achieve them technically.
From my pov, there is a balance. Never would a math teacher write some
numbers on the board and say "See what you can do with these" (although it
might not be a bad idea if some of them tried it!). I would feel
irresponsible as a teacher if I just put paint out on the table and said go
for it. I do allow for lots of experimentation and exploration, but with
On the first day with Kindies I did a new thing that I got from someone on the
list last year. We talk about what the word art means, when they say ,
"coloring ", I say yes we may color and I show them all the crayons I have,
same with paint, markers, clay etc... That way they see a lot of materials
that they'll be using eventually. I make a big deal of writing my name on the
board (its 13 letters long) and they help name the letters. Then I give them a
piece of copy paper that I have ready with , a sentence like, Today we went to
the art room and saw lots of materials that we will use. Here is the teacher
Mrs. Hollingsworth. Then I have a frame drawn on the paper. I pose for them and
they draw me with pencils or black markers inside the frame. I have their aide
make copies for me so they can take the original home and I have one for their
folders. Usually I always have a book on hand for kinders (to read aloud)
because they finish at such different times. Then the for the next several
weeks I have them work on an art book. Each page is a 12 x18 piece of white
construction ( I give the teachers the pages before they come to class and the
aide has their name on the paper before they come in because so many of them
can't write legibly and they can't spell it for me to write it either)
First page of the book is the cover and they draw themselves coming to school.
We talk about what the building looks like , how they got here, who waved good
bye etc.. how they can draw all those things with shape ( use crayons)
Second week- next page we do the primary colors and they use crayons , learn
the primary color song, a book about colors Third week is shapes
and we do cutting and gluing- I have pre-cut 3 inch squares and I show them how
to cut it in half to make two triangles, cut it in half the other way to make
rectangles, cut off the corners to make a circle, etc... Fourth week -lines
(all different kinds-straight,zigzag, swirls,etc..) and we learn about using
markers-always put the lid on etc. Fifth week-patterns -they glue precut
shapes (r,y, b so we can review the primary colors) on a swuiggly line they
draw w/ marker so it looks like they are making a necklace. Use markers to draw
lines on the "beads" By this time I usually have a high school student
helper who goes into the kdg rooms during their center times and use our book
binding machine w/ the kids and they make their own book with the pages. I send
a letter home with the books explaining what they learned while they were doing
each page. Its a good way to introduce them to materials and procedures in the
room and teach some basics. The I join in with the classroom on what ever
letter they are on. They learn a letter each week and I fit my lesson in with
their letter. Like on "P" week we paint poinsettias and use the hole punch to
punch yellow circles to put in the middles.
        Hope this gives you some ideas-we already have two days of school done!
         Jeryl in SC
Okay here goes some preschool lessons I have done.
      We got colored or white lunch bags and glued assorted foam shapes, little
pieces of construction paper, tissue paper, even had them put glue spots and
put a pinch of beads on there. Had them add those googoo eyes, and helped glue
triangles, they chose strips of tissue paper to glue to the open end of the bag
and voila a fish. When I did my student teaching at the elementary level I did
this lesson and introduced my kids to Sandy Skogland . They should glue the
embellishments one day, then the next day do the fins and tail, and then
another day stuff with shredded newspaper. Tie off the tail with a pipe cleaner
and hole punch a hole in the top. Attach a string and you can hang. They looked
really cute and moms and kids loved them. (tip give them to the kids at the end
of the day, they like to swing them around with the string). I had the
kids do sunflowers. I gave them white circles precut and had them color them
with magic markers or colored pencils, oil pastels. Whatever they liked. Their
choice. They then were given yellow construction paper. I precut this to about
3 x 7. They would tear this into strips. If you tear with the weave it is
really easy for them. They would then glue the back of their white circle and
add the yellow strips. I gave them 2 really long green strips and they glued
them onto their paper and added they circle with strips. They turned out really
good. Again monitor glue and remind them to glue the back of the paper and then
attach to the white one. Do not let them glue the white paper and then add the
     We've done the coffee filter butterflies. Magic markers, spray with water.
Let dry and then wrap pipe cleaner around. (I always wrapped the pipe cleaner
myself). I had them create a background for their butterflies to live. They
would do it in marker. or oil pastel etc. The kids love to see their
butterflies being sprayed. Watching the colors bleed. Another that they
really liked. We did fishtanks. I had them watercolor a big sheet of paper. I
snagged some really good nice thick watercolor paper and had them use it. Big
sheets 18 x 24 I believe. I gave them watercolors and demonstrated how to
paint. I gave them oversized brushes and demonstrated. Dip into water. Dip into
paint. Put on paper. I encouraged them to use blue and even some green and
yellow if they liked.
Oh........ We did wet on wet. I gave them water and had them paint their paper
with water. Then we added the colors. Next I gave them a handful of kosher
salt. (It works better than rock salt) and had them sprinkle it onto their blue
paper. They need to paint really dark. Lots of paint. While that dries I give
them two sheets of paper one they paint orange and one green. Another day I
give them fish templates and have them trace the fish onto their orange paper.
They then cut them out. I may have to help some with the cutting out of the
plants. We then glue the fish and plants onto the blue paper. The kids love
this project they like putting dashes of salt all over their paper. Oh and have
the kids wipe their blue salty paper over the trashcan or you'll have little
grains of salt everywhere. Those are the big projects that I have done
that they really liked. Hope these help and sorry about the length.