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January Art Lessons for Early Elementary

Updated on June 20, 2019
iijuan12 profile image

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

January Art Lessons for Early Elementary
January Art Lessons for Early Elementary

This is part of a series of 26 hands-on art lessons for Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grade. This covers the art lessons we completed in January. I used this plan while teaching a weekly 45 minute art class for children in Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd grades. Each lesson includes an art concept 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!

Swirly Penguins

Warm Colors & Value Review

Swirly Penguins
Swirly Penguins

Penguins: Warm Colors & Value Review

We started back from winter break with a fun wintry picture of a penguin that includes a review of warm colors and value. We followed this lesson by Cassie Stephens, though we will use a black marker to make our penguins and didn't practice ahead of time on making them.

  • Welcome everyone back and ask each student to share something they did or got during the break.
  • Quickly review warm and cool colors.
  • Have the students quickly practice drawing swirls on their hands using the paintbrush.
  • Give each student a full sheet of plain white paper (printer paper) and have them use only the warm colors (red, orange, and yellow) from their watercolor paints to paint swirls. (I demonstrated as well on a sheet of paper.) Make sure to draw swirls off the page as well.
  • Have students put away their watercolor paints and take our markers. They should write their name on their paper and then lay it on another table (or the floor) to dry.
  • Pass out half a sheet of paper. Lead them in drawing a penguin as described in the above lesson link.
  • Have the students cut out their penguin. It's okay if you leave some of the white paper. Just don't cut off any penguin parts!
  • Color in the penguin using markers.
  • Paste the penguin on top of the swirl paper.

Materials needed per student: 1 sheet of plain white paper & 1 half sheet of white paper, watercolor paint set with paintbrush, markers, & gluestick

Lego Trampolines

Paper Plate Looms & Weaving

Lego Trampolines: Paper Plate Looms & Weaving
Lego Trampolines: Paper Plate Looms & Weaving

Lego Trampolines: Paper Plate Looms & Weaving

I was so concerned about teaching weaving, but my kids LOVED it! I had to help A LOT, so if you can get an extra set of helping hands, this would be a good day to beg for a few assistants. I started with the basic idea this lesson by Cassie Stephens but simplified it so we could complete it in one class period and could be done by even my young kindergartners without any tears being shed.

  • I prepared ahead of time. I cut 13 notches in dessert-sized Chinet paper plates. On the backs I marked a 1 and a 2 so they would know where to start the yarn on the loom. I also taped & wound up the yarn on craft sticks to keep the string from getting tangled.
  • As soon as class started, I had the students color concentric circles on their paper plates using markers. It's best to start on the outside ring and work inward. (I demonstrated on a plate.) I talked about weaving as we colored.
  • We then created the loom using the directions at the above lesson and then started weaving with the overs and unders of the weft yarn. I had to help almost every student start, but they all got the hang of it and finished on their own. Many of them didn't want to stop. I knotted the last bit of yarn to one of the loom strings and cut off the extra yarn.
  • I knotted the end of a second "spool" of yarn to the end of the first set for students who wanted to continue weaving after class had ended.

Materials needed: 1 dessert-sized Chinet paper plate with 13 notches cut per student, markers, 1 spool of yarn (yarn taped & wrapped around a craft stick) per student, scissors, & tape (in case a plate rips or yarn comes undone)

Steaming Hot Cocoa

Lines & Patterns

Steaming Hot Chocolate Art Activity
Steaming Hot Chocolate Art Activity

Since it's cold outside, a steaming cup of cocoa sounds great. This fun lesson idea came from .

  • Quickly introduce various types of lines by asking the children to name different ways you can draw a line. Give a few examples first if needed (wavy, zig zag, dot, etc.) A pattern repeats that line. We're going to draw patterns today.
  • Pass out a paper with examples of lines and patterns to each group. I used this image for lines and a page similar to this for patterns.
  • Pass out a sheet of paper to each student. Have them use a black pastel (or black crayon if you have limited black pastels) to draw a horizontal line across the middle of the page. (Model this.) Put the black crayon or pastel down. Pick up a different color.
  • Draw a pattern above the line. (Model this quickly.) Draw a different pattern below the line. (Model this quickly.) If students finish quickly, give them ideas on how they can add to their pattern. Also, show them how them can smudge the colors together by rubbing with their finger.
  • After most students are finished with their background, pass out a half sheet of paper along with a copy of a cup and saucer. I used the outline sketch from this site. Have students lay their blank sheet of paper over the picture and trace it using either a black crayon or black pastel.
  • They should color a third pattern on the cup and a similar but slightly different pattern on the plate. (Model this quickly.)
  • As students finish coloring their cups, have them cut them out. Most students needed assistance starting the cut inside the handle.
  • They can use a glue stick to paste the cup on their picture. It should be placed over the black horizontal line.
  • Using a black crayon or pastel, have them trace over the outside lines of the cup and plate. (I forgot to do this.)
  • Use white acrylic paint to paint some swirls of steam coming out from the top of the mug. (We used white tempera paint and it didn't show up well.)
  • Pass out cups of actual hot cocoa to the students.

Materials needed per student: copy of lines and patterns (can be displayed on the board or passed out to groups of students), 1 full sheet of paper, a half sheet of paper, an outline sketch of a cup and saucer, pastels, black crayons (optional), scissors, glue sticks, paintbrush, white acrylic paint, actual cup of warm hot cocoa

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© 2019 Shannon


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    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR


      20 months ago from Florida

      Thank you!

    • Oluwafemi Okeowo profile image

      Oluwafemi Okeowo 

      20 months ago from Nigeria

      Nice one


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