Here are 25 art projects for kids inspired by famous artists from the post-Impressionism time period. Art projects are inspired by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Cézanne.
I really enjoy teaching without a textbook, and was inspired to create this post full of hands-on art projects inspired by famous artists! There are few better ways to learn than with visuals and hands-on experience.
Vincent Van Gogh for Kids
Vincent Van Gogh was born in March 1853 in the Netherlands. Van Gogh enjoyed light and used loose brush strokes. Towards his later life, he began using small stripes, and later swirls. This is evidenced in one of his most famous works, “Starry Night.” Van Gogh lived during the post-impressionist period. Instead of precise art, he created it based on his “impression.”
Van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt
In this picture book, Young Camille befriends a visiting stranger in his town – a man with sunflowers. The visiting man happens to be Vincent Van Gogh, and his sunflowers become the subject of his classic painting.
Vincent Van Gogh by Mike Venezia
Engaging and humorous, this book is a simple introduction to Van Gogh for kids in early elementary.
The Van Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant
I remember first reading The Van Gogh Cafe over a decade ago. Written at about the same level as the Magic Tree House series, The Van Gogh Cafe is a fun, magical adventure.
Sunset on the Fields Van Gogh Activity – My Bright Firefly
I love bright yellow! Explore lights and shadows with Van Gogh’s warm, relaxing “Sunset on the Fields” painting. Image credit: My Bright Firefly
Starry Night – The Clever Classroom
“Starry Night” is a classic art project for kids. Recreate Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” painting with glue and oil pastels!
Tints and Shades with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers – Playground and Park Bench
You will need yellow, black, and white paint for this activity inspired by Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.” Prep time is less than five minutes, and the cost is under $5. Discover how black paint can make the shade of yellow darker, and adding white paint can make it lighter. Image credit: Playground and Park Bench
Van Gogh Wheat Field Oil Pastels – Art Projects for Kids
Use oil pastels to create Van Gogh’s mysterious but simply artistic “Wheat field.”
Van Gogh Portraits: 3/4 Self Portraits – Deep Space Sparkle
Van Gogh often painted 3/4 face self portraits. Instead of frontal view portraits, try these unique 3/4 self portraits. This elementary art teacher explains how she drew inspiration from Van Gogh’s expressive style to teach her third graders. Image credit: Deep Space Sparkle
Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night Mural – WES Kindergarten Art
Best for large classrooms, this mural uses teamwork to re-create a large version of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” You could also try this on a smaller scale!
Recreating “Sunflowers” with Coffee Filters and Elmer’s Board Mate – One Artsy Mama
Recreate “Sunflowers” with coffee filters in this fun craft. Image credit: One Artsy Mama
Van Gogh Art Activity: Clay Activity – Mini Monets and Mommies
With thick, obvious brush stokes, try recreating Van Gogh’s works “The Plain of Auvers” and “Wheat Field After the Rain” with clay.
Starry Night with Melted Crayons – Happy Hooligans
Grate and melt crayons for this “Starry Night” inspired melted crayon art project for this memorable project. Image credit: Happy Hooligans
Van Gogh Style Finger Paint Painting – The Imagination Tree
In this open-ended and child-led project, all you need is basic paints and paper to create Van Gogh inspired art, particularly with his famous “Starry Night” painting.
Field of Poppies – That Artist Woman
With some disk tempera paint and powdered tempera paint, recreate Van Gogh’s “Field of Poppies.” Use disk paint to create your base; green and yellow for the meadow, and blue for the sky. Use the powdered tempera to add the details of the flowers. Image credit: That Artist Woman
“Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh Inspired Painting | Motherhood on a Dime
Learn about textures while recreating Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” painting with tempura paint and flour. Image credit: Motherhood on a Dime
Painting on Foil – Messy Little Monster
Paint on foil for this messy “Starry Night” inspired painting, made with two shades of blue paint and some white paint.
Paul Cézanne for Kids
Paul Cézanne, sometimes known as the father of Cubism, was born on January 19, 1839 in Provence, France. His father wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer, but he wanted to be a painter! Originally, his artwork had a dark and serious tone. As time progressed, he began spending more time outdoors and his artwork became brighter. Cézanne is best known for his artwork. Many of his most famous paintings are of arranged fruits, with different shapes.
Cézanne and the Apple Boy by Laurence Anholt
Aimed at a younger elementary audience, this is the fictional story from the perspective of Cézanne’s son. Cézanne, a wild mountain man, is originally found suspicious by locals. Like many artists, it isn’t until later when Cézanne becomes famous!
Oil Pastels and Baby Oil for Cézanne Paintings- Fine Lines
With a q-tip dipped in baby oil, create fruit painting inspired by Cézanne’s artwork!
Apple Art Project Inspired by Cézanne – Deep Spaces Sparkle
You can use a template or for older children, freehand, this apple activity inspired by Cézanne. Cut and paste apples and place them on burlap for your own Cézanne painting! Image credit: Deep Spaces Sparkle
Paul Cézanne Artist Study – Teach Beside Me
Like Cézanne, gather inspiration from a bowl of fruit in your own home! Options are endless – you can use oil pastels, watercolor crayons, and more!
Paul Cézanne Apple Art – Room 17: Ms. Long’s Class
Trace apple cut-outs on a piece of paper, and use oil pastels to create a fruit painting similar to what Cézanne might have created in his day.
Color My World: Paul Cézanne – RAK Archives
On a piece of construction paper, learn about primary and secondary colors by creating a Cézanne inspired fruit bowl.
Pablo Picasso for Kids
Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain. Picasso was one of the co-founders of Cubism and collages. He was a fan of abstract art; with shapes often making up his pictures. His work is divided into four categories:
- The Blue Period (1901-1904)
- The Rose Period (1905-1907)
- The African Influenced Period (1908-1909)
- The Cubism Period (1909-1919)
Picasso’s style began with the dreary Blue Period. Those images are made almost solely blues and blue-green hues. He began creating more vibrant images with warmer colors, described as the Rose Period. He later drew influences from African cultures, and later the block-y period of Cubism.
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail – Laurence Anholt
Sylvette, a shy young girl, is neighbor’s with Picasso. Picasso encourages her to try something new and pose for his pictures. The pictures become famous, and Sylvette is encouraged to pursue a career as an artist. This story brings a fictional spin on Picasso’s true painting, “Sylvette,” introducing the paintings in a memorable way for kids.
Who Was Pablo Picasso? by True Kelley
Just who WAS Pablo Picasso? Learn about Picasso in this beginning chapter book, that explores Picasso’s artwork and different phases of his art projects.
Picasso Blue Guitar – Do Art
Guitars can be as detailed or simple as kids can make them. Inspired by Cubism and Picasso’s blue period, create this somber blue guitar with acrylic paint, watercolor paper, and a Sharpie.
Kindergarten Picasso Inspired Guitar Collages – Meri Cherry
Great for kindergartners, create Picasso-style guitar collages, reminiscent of some of Picasso’s guitar paintings.
Picasso Inspired Faces: Tree Ornaments – Kid Blogger Network
With oven bake clay, create vivid faces with these fun art projects inspired by Picasso. Image: Kid Blogger Network
Picasso’s Le Coq Pastel Chalk Art – Deep Space Sparkle
With chalk and oil pastels, create artwork inspired by Picasso’s “Le Coq” painting of a rooster.
Coloring with Emotion: Picasso – Royal Baloo
During Picasso’s blue period, he uses different colors to show different emotions. How did he do it? Explore with this Picasso cubism inspired activity.
Picasso for Kids: Cubist Portraits – Coffee Cups and Crayons
Get creative with oil pastels and canvases to create Cubist-style portraits. Since the crazier and less realistic or proportioned the better, this craft is great for all ages! Create self-portraits, or recreate some of Picasso’s famous works. Image: Coffee Cups and Crayons
Picasso Pop Can Portraits – The Art of Education
Create eccentric Picasso paintings with pop cans! This activity was designed for middle school, but could be adjusted for younger ages.
What are your favorite art projects for kids?
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