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Abstract Art & Wassily Kandinsky Lesson for Early Elementary

Updated on June 20, 2019
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

Abstract Art Lesson for Early Elementary
Abstract Art Lesson for Early Elementary

This is the 5th lesson in a series of 26 hands-on art lessons for Kindergarten and 1st grade. This lesson focuses on abstract art. I used this plan while teaching a weekly 45 minute art class for children in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Each lesson includes an art concept, introductory book, focus on an artist, and a variety of art techniques to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

Abstract Art & Kandinsky

1. Quickly show 3 traditional paintings. Ask children what they see in each picture.


  • copies of 3 traditional paintings

2. Show a few pieces of abstract art by Kandinsky. Can they identify any real objects, people, or animals in the paintings?


  • copies of abstract art by Kandinsky

3. About 100 years ago, some artists decided to stop trying to paint something that represented an animal, object, etc. Instead, they wanted to communicate a message or feeling. “Abstract art is non-representational art. That is, art which does not try to represent people, animals or objects in the real world, but which attempts to communicate meaning either through dramatically simplified or invented forms.” (An Usborne Introduction: Understanding Modern Art)

4. Read The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock . Kandinsky is credited as the first abstract artist.


  • The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art
This is one of my favorite children's biographies on an artist. It is the perfect length for this age group (K-2) and the illustrations are captivating. Even my older children enjoy this book! The book does a wonderful job of sharing a brief history of the life and work of Kandinsky. It shares how he associated colors with music and tried to convey that in his art work. The end includes a few of his pieces.
Samples of the children's abstract art masterpieces
Samples of the children's abstract art masterpieces

6. Lead children in creating the outline for the abstract art piece.

  • Pass out a sheet of paper to each child.
  • Have them use a dark crayon to write their name on the back of the paper.
  • On the front of the paper, have them use the dark crayon to draw 4 straight lines that cross each other and go to the edge of the paper. They can be diagonal or straight. Change the crayon to another color.
  • Have them draw 2 circles that touch a line. They can be oval, circles, kidney-shaped or ellipse-shaped. They are to be empty and any size anywhere on the page. Change the crayon to another color.
  • Have them draw 3 dots -- any size or shape. Color them in solidly with the crayon. Change the crayon to another color.
  • Place the crayon on the dot and draw a curvy line going off the page. It will look like a balloon. Do this twice. Change the crayon to another color.
  • Add 2 or 3 things on your own such as: a zigzag, angled line, a spiral, a dotted line, a shape like circle or dot, etc. DO NOT try to draw a picture of something. We are only drawing lines and shapes, not objects like butterflies, ladybugs, or the sun.


  • Paper (such as watercolor paper)
  • Crayons

7. Lead the children in painting their abstract art piece.

  • Show on an example piece of art how touching shapes are each painted a different color.
  • Wet your paints by dropping a drop of water into each color first.
  • Paint in all the shapes, repeating colors in different sections of the painting but not touching. (Most of my students didn’t follow this step even though I tried to remind them.) Make sure to cover all the white areas completely.
  • Use what you have learned about using warm & cool colors, primary & secondary colors, and tints & hues to create what you feel when you hear this music.
  • Either play music (such as Vivaldi’s Spring) or allow each child to name a song and then sing that song together. Remind them to paint what they feel when they hear the music or song.
  • *Tip: Make sure that children do not use too much water! It might tear the paper.


  • Paper (from above)
  • Watercolor paints and larger paintbrush
  • Optional: Music (such as Vivaldi’s Spring)

8. Have extra sheets of blank paper for any children who finish much earlier than the others.


  • Paper

9. As each child finishes, take a picture of them with their abstract art piece. Allow them to clean up their paints while the others finish up.

10. After everyone has finished, have the children look at all the art pieces. Ask them: Did we all follow the same directions? Do the drawings look the same? Different? How are they similar? How are they different? Why? With just one set of directions, everyone in the classroom will come up your own unique work of abstract art.

Art With Mati & Dada | Kandinsky

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© 2018 Shannon


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