Artist Saturday (ages 6-12)

Program Blurb:

Study art from the past and create your own work inspired by their style. Best suited for ages 6-12.

artist saturday

Claude Monet

Supplies Needed:

Prep Work:

If you have a projector, it's nice to have a slideshow going with images of some of Monet's work. If not, I'd recommend getting a book of his art, or printing out some favorites online. 

Here is a good website for his biography and for viewing his paintings.

I prefer to only use red, yellow, blue, white, and black paint and have the kids mix their own colors. Kids love color theory.

Program Agenda:

Introduce Claude Monet and impressionism, while showing them some of his artwork -

Claude Monet was not the first artist to start painting in the impressionist style, but he is the most famous. He was born almost 200 years ago in France. He was very talented at art, but instead of studying the way artists used to paint, he decided to start painting the people and places that he saw outside.

Impressionism was a new way of painting. Instead of painting perfect, photograph-like portraits of famous people, or scenes from mythology, history, or the Bible, they would do quick and imperfect paintings of people and places from everyday life. Some of Claude Monet's most famous paintings are of a Japanese bridge, water lilies, or garden scenes.

The great thing about creating our own impressionist work is that it doesn't have to be perfect! Their work wasn't perfect, either, but it was still beautiful and important. As we're making our own impressionist art, don't worry so much about whether or not you are making mistakes -- as long as you are happy with how it looks at the end, there weren't any mistakes at all.

Give the kids a sheet or two of the mixed media paper to begin experimenting, and to achieve the colors they'd like. When they're ready, pass out the canvases, and they can get to work.


Many artists would make their own paint to get the perfect color they were looking for. A good exercise in this is mixing eyeshadow with white school glue to make your own paint. You can hit a dollar store for eyeshadow or ask staff if anyone has any to donate.

Additionally, if weather permits, set up painting stands outside and paint something you can see in real life. If weather is crummy, you can paint each other, painting each other. Very meta.


If you weren't already aware, dadaism is pretty weird. Kids like weird.

Supplies needed:

Literally anything, honestly --

I used:

Prep work:

Just read up a bit on dada. It's pretty entertaining. 

The great thing about exploring art with young kids is that you don't need to know everything to get started. You're not lecturing to a hall full of grad students here. You need to know enough to give a brief introduction and get them curious, then give them the resources to explore a bit more.

Program Agenda:

Take a few minutes to discuss the creation of dada and the societal circumstances that led to it, gauging the maturity of your participants. Dada came into fruition with WW1 and everything that came with it.

Either pass around or show slides of a few selected artworks. I selected the four up top. Discuss themes you see, what you think the author was thinking, and what they want you, the viewer, to think.

...then break out the supplies, and have at it!

The kids did an awesome job and I really want to share more pictures, but every other kid featured cut outs of their names and I didn't want to share any identifiers. 

Have fun!

Garth Erasmus

Garth Erasmus is a South African artist who has worked in many different kinds of media. His work is featured in collections around the world. Depending on how in-depth you want to go and the age of your participants, you can look at the way his Khoisan ancestry is reflected in his work and how he addresses apartheid and its impact on South Africa's past and present. For a more in-depth biography, you can check out his [Wikipedia page].

You can get a feel for his art by checking out [the Africa South Art Initiative website]. For this program, I'm focusing on the artwork you can find by clicking on the "Mantis Praise" tab on that website.

The [Smithsonian National Museum of African Art website] describes how the art was made.

"The artist applied layers of color with acrylic onto a board, then added a final layer with black crayon. Scratching off the various layers to create skulls, figures and some inscriptions may have been a form of meditation for the artist."

The [On Set Productions website] has more information from the artist on the feelings and techniques that went into the Mantis Praise project. It's worth reading in its entirety, but here's a good blurb:

"My work process consists of much over-layering of paint and images, mimicking, in reverse, the archaeological process of 'un-layering' in order to discover. Khoisan cave paintings often show images painted on top of older images by subsequent generations of cave painters, and I have used this process of working-over as a symbol of the destructive events of South African history in the gradual 'obliteration' of this country's aboriginal nation."

Supplies needed:

To make the art:

Use the crayons/pastels to cover parts of the black paper with thick, solid color. 

Then use the toothpicks to scratch designs into the color, revealing the black beneath.

If you have more than one session available, you can do this more authentically by using paint instead of crayon/pastel, and letting it try between sessions. 

Rolling Stamps

There's not a lot of easily-found scholarly information online about pre-columbian art in the Americas, particularly when it comes to stamps. However, we do know that they used rolling stamps to decorate household goods and the human body.

It could be a good opportunity to discuss life in pre-Hispanic central America.

Supplies Needed:


Cut shapes out of the sticky foam paper and stick it on the tube.

Cover the foam with paint and roll it across your paper.

Cost per child: about a dollar.