Visual Art Activities for All Ages


Pinch Pot with clay - eyes open

Take a piece of clay and make it into a ball.  If  you close your hand around the ball, it should fit comfortably.

Hold the ball in one hand, with the thumb of the other hand, push down the middle of the ball.  Stop at the desired thickness of your finished pot.

With the thumb on the inside wall of the pot, and the rest of the fingers on the outside wall of the pot, pinch all around the wall until the thickness is even all around and the same as the bottom.


Pinch Pot with clay - eyes closed

Follow all the directions for "eye open", except do it with your eyes closed.   It works.

Free form pinch pot

It is basically a pinch pot in any shape you like.

Drawing from your childhood

Think of five things from your childhood home.

Focus on one area of each thing and draw just that area.

Representation of the four elements - Earth, water, wind & fire

  1. Divide class into four groups.

  2. Provide a large amount of variety in art material, like tissue paper, construction paper, crayons, paint, beads, feather, tree barks, and other natural materials.  The more the better.

  3. Assign an element to each group.

  4. Groups members collaborate to make a representation of their assigned element.

  5. Groups take turn presenting their product to the rest of class.  They can incorporate dance, song, or poems.

  6. Reflective writing:  Which element did you relate to and why.

Vine Charcoal enlarged drawings

  1. Collect items from the natural environment, such as pine cones, flowers, branches, leaves, seeds, vegetables, fruits, etc.

  2. Tape large sheets of newsprint on the wall, place items within easy viewing as you proceed to illustrate it.

  3. Vine Charcoal can be broken easily into smaller pieces for better control.

  4. Using large full arm movements, illustrate your natural item by enlarging it on the newsprint.

  5. Try another piece by using both right and left hands at the same time to illustrate something like a fern.

Gesso Collage

  1. Start with a piece of cardboard approximately 18"x18", you will be making a relief by building upwards with crumbled newspaper, smaller pieces of cardboard, and whatever other material you want.

  2. Tape these upward materials in place with masking tape.

  3. Paint the whole piece with gesso (like a white primer).

  4. After it dries, paint it with tempera paint of any color, follow the contour of the relief.

Contour Drawing

  1. Place any object of interesting form in a brown paper bag.

  2. Place one hand into the bag.  Without looking, draw the outline of the hidden object as you feel the contour with your hand.

Guided imagery/visualization: watercolor

Using watercolor, think of the colors of the ocean as you listen to soothing music.  Paint four pictures of the colors you see in your memory.

Reflective writing:  How did you feel about the process.

Tear Paper Art - Creature

  1. Gather a stack of construction paper, all variety of colors.

  2. Let each student choose a piece of construction paper and have him/her tear it into any shape or form.

  3. Divide class into groups of four or five.

  4. Have each group form a creature with all their torn out pieces of paper. Glue it together once they finalize their design.

  5. Each group decide on the following: name of their creature, where their creature lives, what the creature eats and what does their creature do that's unique about it.

  6. Share their story.

Tear Paper Art - Still-life

  1. Bring in a chair and place fruits in a platter on it.

  2. Use paper that's been painted with India Ink and dried overnight, to tear out and make the Still-life picture.

  3. Note: Using India ink, water and paper, create three shades of black, very light, medium, and dark.  Dilute Indian Ink with water to make it lighter color before painting paper.  Let the paper dry overnight before using.

Note:  This is an exercise in shading.  From light to dark.

Draw  a tree from your past

  1. Think of a tree you pass by regularly in your past.

  2. Close your eyes and visualize this tree.

  3. Using soft drawing pencil and newsprint, draw this tree that you see in your memory.

Describing a painting.

  1. Make a chart with six columns and as many rows as you want.

  2. Label the columns on the top with the following parts of speech or other helpful words to enrich sentence writing:  Article, adjective, adjective, noun, verb, adverb, and where.

  3. Show students famous paintings, have them describe the painting by giving you a word for each of the column categories.  Then have them write the finished sentence.

  4. To help students with the writing trait of word choice and to appreciate fine art more,  do this exercise as many times as you'd like.

Illuminated Letters

This is art from the Middle Ages , used to make books more ornate.

It is a picture drawn inside the shape of a letter that begins with that letter.  Framed by a decorated border.  Example:  The letter "L" for lines is drawn with lines inside the "L".  The border should be decorated with designs of your liking.  It all should be colored.







3-D Boxes

Using a shoe box and a variety of art materials, design a setting.

Blind Drawing

  1. Have one student sit as the model sideways.

  2. Without looking down on their actual drawing or their hands, another student will draw the contour line of the model's face.

  3. His/her hand should draw the face slowly as his/her eyes are looking slowly at the contour line of the model's face.

Results will sometimes be surprising and humorous!

Drawing with a view finder

  1. Using a heavy weight paper, make a square template large enough to fit the object you want to draw inside the borders.

  2. Cut the center out, leaving enough border to fit your object.  This is your view finder.  It is used to help you draw more accurately.

  3. The space outside of your object is called NEGATIVE SPACE.  The space your object occupies is called POSITIVE SPACE.  Your can either draw the positive space first or the negative space on your paper.














Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  art will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.