Whether you’re homeschooling or looking for something to keep your kids busy, art class is a great way to get them working on creative endeavors. Here are some classic art projects you can do at home with your kids.
Some of these projects can be done right at the dining room table—just throw down a tablecloth or old sheet if you’re worried about a mess. Some would be safer done outside. There are projects for teens and kids as young as preschool age, so choose those your child can do safely.
Bean, Lentil, and Pasta Mosaics
In elementary school, art was simple, but it was still fun. At home, you might have been told not to play with your food, but at school, you turned food into art! You made mosaics out of beans and pasta.
These are easy craft projects you can do with your kids at home. You can use dried beans, pasta, dried lentils, or rice.
CraftBits has a list of what you’ll need and some easy instructions to get you started on some food-inspired art.
Paper-mache is a great craft project for kids who like to get their hands dirty and parents who don’t mind a mess. Compared to other at-home art projects, it’s quite a messy undertaking.
But you can do so many great things with paper-mache, like creating the bowl in the video below.
Kids of all ages can do paper quilling, although older kids (and adults) will likely come up with more intricate designs. Paper quilling involves rolling strips of paper into a design, and then gluing them in place. You can make flowers, birds, or just about anything using this artistic technique.
Faux Stained Glass Suncatchers
One of the projects I loved doing was making a faux stained-glass piece in preschool. It was a Mother’s Day gift that said “Mom” in the middle.
It was an easy project for little hands. However, it would be fun for older kids, too, because they can make more intricate shapes and designs.
Collage art is my personal forte. You can do so many things when you start mixing media. I loved using magazine clippings coupled with drawing and painting, and then throwing in some 3D items for effect.
To create the mixed-media collage art as shown in the video below, just form an idea, and then choose a piece of scenery or a landscape—it can be anything that you want it to be.
This excellent article explains how collage art can help you express your feelings.
Self-portraits can be drawn, painted, made as collage art, or taken with a camera. We’ve all learned the art of self-portraits during this age of the selfie. Teach your child the old-school way of taking a selfie by having them draw or paint themselves.
Make sure they know their self-portrait doesn’t have to look exactly like them. They can draw or paint how they see themselves or even go for a more whimsical version.
Painting Still Life
One of the first art projects I did in high school was a still life. It was how we learned to deal with lighting and shadows. No one seemed to get it right the first time. Sometimes, one piece of fruit would appear to pop right off the page, while others looked flat and one-dimensional.
Still life drawing and painting is easy to set up. Just grab some fruit or another household object, like a vase or bowl, and set it on a table near a light source.
If you need some directions, check out this helpful tutorial.
There are all kinds of sculpting and modeling clays available, including polymer and air-dry, neither of which require a kiln. Polymer clay hardens in an oven, which is easy to do (with the assistance of an adult, of course).
Younger children can have fun making animals, while older kids can create neat pendants, or even bowls to store their trinkets in.
When we made paper masks at school, we glued them to popsicle sticks so we could hold them in front of our faces. It was fun, easy, and less complicated than trying to tie a mask around your head.
You can cut your masks out of thick printer or construction paper. You can even use paper plates! Then, just color or decorate them however you like.
You can use feathers to make bird masks, or sequins to mimic scales for a snake or mermaid mask. Check out this butterfly mask tutorial for some inspiration.
I had a blast finger painting in school! It was fun to get messy. My messy art was a mystery piece: the longer you looked at it, the more you saw. In many spots, the colors all mixed together, creating grays and browns, but it was still neat.
You can purchase paints specifically marketed as finger paints, or you can use tempera paints, which you’ll find at any big-box or dollar store. Just be sure to buy the nontoxic kind!
Kids of all ages will enjoy these classic art projects. It’ll give everyone some creative time and a chance to get messy!