fun and fast family art projects

Tap into your budding artist's creativity with these easy, at-home art activities

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For these preschool projects, all you'll need is paint, paper & your child's imagination.
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1. Self-Portraits

Have kids lie down on a poster board or a roll of standard brown wrapping paper and trace their upper bodies (shoulders and head) with a pencil. Then have your child fill in the outline to make a life-sized self-portrait. Or, they can fill in the outline with any patterns, shapes, colors or textures they can think of. You could also have someone trace your upper body and then have your child paint or draw inside your outline.
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2. Mini Michelangelo

Have your child lie on his or her back (preferably on a cushioned surface). Supply them with a drawing pad and colored pencils and markers and have them try to make to make a drawing or painting from this position of anything they see. Explain that one of the most famous and important series of paintings, the frescoes on the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel, were painted by the artist Michelangelo while lying on his back. The project took over four years to complete!
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3. Q-Tip Pointillism

You will need watercolors, drawing paper, and cotton swabs for this project. Wet the watercolors with a paintbrush and then have your child press down on a color with a cotton swab. Help your child to fill up as much of a white piece of paper using only dots. (Pressing down lightly will make a small dot, and pressing down harder will make a larger one). Once they have done this for a few minutes, tape five or more cotton swabs together, dip them in paint and continue making dots this way. Explain to them how Georges Seurat made all of his paintings in a style like this, by using small dots to create a picture. This technique is called pointillism.
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4. Sponge-Painting Shapes

Cut sponges into different shapes such as circles, triangles, diamonds, squares, etc. Then put different colors of paint on a paper plate (like an artist's palette). Have your child dip the sponges in the paint and press them down on a piece of poster board or cardboard (or anything sturdier than a piece of paper) and create a shape painting. They can use many colors or shapes or just one. Encourage them to let their imagination and creativity run wild.
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5. No-Mess Sponge Painting

This sponge-painting project is mess free! Take a gallon-size zip-close bag and place a piece of paper inside it. Then cut up a moist sponge into little pieces. Press each sponge piece into a different color of paint and place them all inside the bag, zip the bag closed, and place it on the table. Then let your child press down on the bag and shake it around to move the sponges. When your child is done, take the paper out and let it dry for a sponge-painting masterpiece!
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6. Wet Chalk Painting Activity

This chalk project is best done outside. The drawings are brighter and have a more textured look when done with wet chalk and, best of all, they won't smudge like regular chalk drawings! Mix together 6 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 cup of water. (Having your child help is a good way to teach measurements). Once the ingredients are mixed, place a piece(s) of chalk into it and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Then take the chalk out and draw with wet chalk onto paper. If the pieces of chalk are colored, draw on white paper, or try using white chalk on colored paper.
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7. Swirly Straw Painting

You will need only a piece of paper, washable paint, and a straw for this activity. Place droplets of different colored washable paint onto a piece of paper and then hand your child a straw. Let your child use the straw to blow the paint around the paper (just make sure they don't actually stick the straw into the paint). This activity will help your child create swirls of paint, like a painting by Vincent van Gogh!
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8. Season Drawings

Give your child four pieces of plain, white paper and crayons or colored pencils. Help them write the name of a season at the top of each paper, and then encourage them to draw a picture of that season. They can draw whatever comes to mind when they think of that season. Talk to your child about the different colors, shapes and symbols that they might be associated with each season and suggest they use these in their paintings.
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