20 Elementary Art Lessons for Kids

Art class isn’t just about pretty pictures! It’s a space for children to explore their creativity, develop fine motor skills, and learn valuable concepts.

From color theory to self-expression, engaging art lessons can spark a lifelong love for the arts.

If you’re a teacher, parent, or anyone looking for fun art activities for kids, this post is for you!

We’ve compiled 20 creative elementary art lessons that cater to a variety of ages and skill levels.

Lessons for the Youngest Artists (K-2):

Splatter Monsters:

Introduce young children to the joy of making a mess! Tape down paper bags and let them unleash their inner Pollock with tempera paint and straws. They can create splatter “monsters” with googly eyes and construction paper details.

Fingerprint Fun:

This is a classic for a reason! Use washable paints and let kids explore the patterns made by their fingerprints. They can create a fingerprint tree, a field of flowers, or even use their thumbprints as ladybugs!

Shape Collage Critters:

Cut out different shapes from construction paper. Encourage kids to create silly creatures by combining circles, squares, and triangles. They can glue googly eyes on their creations for an extra touch.

Texture Rubbings:

Take the kids on a texture scavenger hunt around the classroom or playground. Let them use crayons to make rubbings of different surfaces (bricks, leaves, tree bark) to create unique textures on their paper.

Yarn Painting:

Tape down a piece of yarn in a zig-zag pattern on cardboard. Let kids paint over the yarn, then carefully peel it off to reveal a cool striped design!

Lessons for Budding Artists (Grades 3-5):

Pop Art Portraits:

Explore the iconic pop art style. Have students draw self-portraits on paper bags. Then, they can use bold colors, patterns, and even add speech bubbles with funny sayings to create their own pop art portraits.

Melted Crayon Art:

This is a fun project that combines science and art. Let students create crayon shavings on a piece of paper with a pencil sharpener. Carefully place a sheet of parchment paper on top and iron it (with adult supervision) to see the crayons melt into a colorful masterpiece.

Watercolor Resist:

Introduce kids to the special effects of watercolors. Draw a design on watercolor paper using white crayon. When they paint over the design with watercolors, the white crayon will resist the paint, revealing their original drawing.

Perspective Cityscapes:

Learn about one-point perspective! Draw a vanishing point on the horizon line of a piece of paper. Students can then create buildings and streets receding towards the vanishing point, creating a cool cityscape illusion.

Paper Bag Puppets:

Get creative and make some puppets! Decorate brown paper lunch bags with markers, paint, and construction paper to create fantastical creatures, superheroes, or favorite book characters. Slide your hand in the bottom of the bag and put on a puppet show!

Lessons that Embrace Art History (Grades 4-5):

Van Gogh Sunflowers:

Introduce kids to the vibrant works of Vincent van Gogh. Students can use oil pastels or crayons to create bold sunflowers in the style of Van Gogh, with swirling lines and thick strokes.

Monet’s Water Lilies:

Explore the world of Impressionism with a nod to Claude Monet. Let students create a watery scene using watercolors, focusing on soft edges and blending colors to capture the feeling of Monet’s water lily paintings.

Egyptian Hieroglyphics:

Travel back in time to ancient Egypt! Introduce students to hieroglyphics and let them design their own messages or names using simple hieroglyphic symbols. They can even create mini scrolls on brown paper to complete the effect.

Picasso Faces:

Learn about Cubism and the work of Pablo Picasso. Have students draw a portrait, then challenge them to break it down into geometric shapes, creating a cubist-inspired portrait.

Pop Culture Sculptures:

This is a great way to incorporate pop culture into your art curriculum. Have students choose a favorite character or object and sculpt a 3D version out of recycled materials like cardboard, paper tubes, and bottle caps.

Art Activities that Encourage Exploration (All Grades):

Nature Mandalas:

Take a trip to a park or your backyard and collect natural materials like leaves, twigs, and pebbles. Students can arrange these materials on a piece of paper to create beautiful nature mandalas.

Blind Contour Drawing:

This is a fun exercise that helps develop observation skills. Have students pair up with a partner. One student will be the artist, blindfolded, while the other holds an object and guides the artist’s hand to draw it without looking. They can then switch roles and compare their blind contour drawings to the actual object.

Chalk Pastels on the Playground:

Take your art lesson outdoors! On a sunny day, let students use sidewalk chalk pastels to create large-scale murals on the playground blacktop. They can draw games like hopscotch or create a collaborative scene. Just remember to check the weather and be prepared to clean up before the rain comes!

Recycled Paper Art:

Turn trash into treasure! Collect and flatten used cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, and egg cartons. Students can use these materials to create collages, sculptures, or even build miniature houses or robots.

Collaborative Murals:

This is a great activity for fostering teamwork and creativity. Choose a large theme, like a rainforest scene or an underwater world. Divide the class into sections and let them work together to create a giant mural using different art materials.

Bonus Lesson: The “Anything Goes” Art Challenge:

Sometimes, the best way to spark creativity is to simply let kids explore without limitations. Dedicate a class period to an “Anything Goes” art challenge. Provide a variety of art materials (paints, markers, crayons, construction paper, etc.) and let students create whatever their imaginations come up with! This is a great way to see what inspires them and allows them to express themselves freely.


These are just a few ideas to get you started. The most important thing is to create a fun and engaging environment where kids feel comfortable exploring their creativity. Don’t be afraid to get messy, experiment with different materials, and most importantly, have fun!

Additional Tips:

  • Tailor the lessons to the age and skill level of your students.
  • Incorporate discussions about art history or famous artists to add context and broaden their knowledge.
  • Display student artwork in the classroom or hallway to boost their confidence.
  • Most importantly, encourage self-expression and celebrate the unique creativity of each child!

With a little creativity, you can turn art class into a favorite subject for your students, fostering a lifelong love for the arts.

Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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