Fun Summer Activities, part 2 (art)

Welcome back for part two of the summer fun series!  I hope you like art, because I have 30 fun art projects for you to try with your kiddos!  I got inspiration from all over the internet, and I included links where I could.  Also, several ideas are from the book Discovering Great Artists.

1. Melted crayon paintings
Melt crayons in an old muffin tin (or use metallic muffin papers).  Keep the crayons warm and melted on a heated surface (electric griddle?).  Paint using the melted wax to create an interesting texture.  This would be especially effective with a still-life of fruit.

2. Magazine collages (easy, simple, cheap)

3. Monet-style landscapes with thickened tempera paint (

4. Draw with chalk pastels on black paper or cloth (soak the cloth in milk first and squeeze out)

5. Mirror image painting
Fold a large sheet of paper in half.  Paint on one side, fold the paper again to transfer the mirror image.

6. Yarn wigs (

7. Create your own version of “Starry Night” by Van Gogh
Thickened tempera (#3) works well for this also.  Use dark paper.

8. Create a color wheel with 12 colors (

9. Seurat-style dot painting
Draw a simple sketch, paint dots with a Q-tip for each color.  Allow colors to thoroughly dry before layering new colors.

10. Paint a song
Experiment with different types of music and see what kind of art the songs inspire!

11. Clay sculptures
Give your kid real clay that can be baked (and painted!) and see what interesting things they make.  Tools are very useful for this activity.

12. Mimic Leonardo Da Vinci
Take something simple apart (with permission) like an old cassette tape, a floppy disk, or a clothes pin.  Draw the item in its disassembled form, just like Da Vinci!

13. Woodblock prints
Have older children use real blocks of soft wood (balsa) and younger children use Styrofoam plates or trays.  Young children can use a dull pencil to create a design in their Styrofoam.  Older children can use nails, knives, and other carving tools to create a design in their block of wood.  You can use a stencil to create the design you want. When the design is complete, roll a layer of paint or ink onto the design and then stamp it onto paper or canvass.  (Step-by-step tutorial:

14. Stand up cityscape
Have your kids draw a cityscape on poster board or other strong paper.  Cut out the sides (leave an inch at the bottom) and the top of the cityscape.  Fold it forward for pop-up style art. (Variations are endless)

15. String paintings
Give your kids lengths of yarn (enough to have one string per color of paint). Dip the yarn into a color of (washable) tempera paint and flick it on the paper or canvass.  This is an outdoor activity!

16. Florentine relief
Have your kids sketch shapes/people/things onto heavy paper (or cereal boxes).  Cut out the shapes and glue to a piece of cardboard at least 6” square, or large enough to accommodate the art.  Add yarn or other string and glue it on in designs.  Let everything dry and then cover the entire piece of art with foil, leaving enough to go over the edges of the cardboard.  Press all around the cut out shapes and string to show the texture.  Fold the foil edges over and tape them to the back of the cardboard.  Lay newspaper underneath and paint over the foil with black ink or a black tempera wash.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  When dry, rub the high points with steel wool to create shine and contrast.  Glue the relief on a large sheet of paper and hang.

17. Clay Munch face
Make faces out of clay in the style of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (  For added effect, glue the clay face to a small piece of poster board and create a landscape with paint.

18. Paper chain people (

19. Profile portraits
Have your model sit sideways in front of you with a lamp to cast a shadow of his/her profile on the wall.  Tape your sheet of paper where the shadow falls and then trace the outline of the head.  Fill in the details by looking at your model.  Finish with any medium you like!

20. Monoprint
Paint directly on a cookie sheet with several colors of tempera paint.  Work quickly to keep the paint from drying.  Use toothpicks or pencil to scratch designs into the paint.  Lay a sheet of white paper on the painting and gently pat (don’t wiggle the paper or the design will smear).  Lift the paper gently up and you will have a mono (one) print of your painting.

21. Resist in motion
Draw any object that moves (car, plane, dog, horse, person) on heavy paper that can be traced like a stencil when cut out.  Cut out your stencil and place it on a piece of white paper.  Trace around it with a crayon.  Move it lightly (about 1/2”) and trace it again with crayon (the same color or something different). Repeat the steps of moving and tracing until it appears that your object is moving quickly across the page.  You can color the traced shapes or leave them white.  Paint over your picture with a tempera paint wash (paint thinned with water).  The paint will stick to the paper, but not the crayon, creating a resist that appears in motion.  Variations for a resists are endless.  Anything can be drawn with crayon and then painted with a tempera wash, or water colors.

22. Glue & pastels
This is one of our favorite art projects!  Draw anything you like on a piece of dark paper (black is best).  Trace over your pencil lines with THICK lines of Elmer’s glue.  Allow the picture to dry overnight.  Color in the picture with pastels for a striking piece of art. (

23. “Stained Glass” (

24. Fish tessellation (

25. One color (monochrome) painting
Pick one color, create several different tints, shades, or tones of that color, and then paint a picture.  For example, add white, black, yellow, blue, red….whatever you need to create a new hue of the same color.  Navy blue, true blue, powder blue, aqua, gray-blue….

26. Botanical Illustration
Buy or borrow a book on botanical illustration and start practicing!  Typical mediums are waterproof ink pens, water colors, and various colored pencils or pastels.  This is a great way to start a nature notebook/journal.

27. Mondrian style art (

28. Close up flower in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe (

29. Dance painting
Fill some squeeze bottles with washable paint and use an old white sheet as your canvass(think thrift store).  Dance and squeeze the paint on your giant canvass for loads of fun.  This is ideal at a park with a splash pad to cool off (um, wash off?) in after the painting is done.  (Inspiration:

30. Self portrait
All you need is a mirror, some paper, and a pencil or ink pen to sketch with.  Go ahead, see what you can do!



3 thoughts on “Fun Summer Activities, part 2 (art)

  1. Pingback: Wax Paper Rainbow

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