For the past several years, I have done a directed drawing lesson with my students as their parent Christmas gifts. The children paint their drawings with watercolors and I frame the completed art projects in inexpensive frames from the dollar store before wrapping them up and sending them home. I have created the same Christmas tree paintings with my students for a few years in a row, so this year I created a modified version of that drawing – one with a few presents added under the tree.
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Launching this art project always takes a little time. The children spend a few days practicing the drawing on personal whiteboards. I give a “drawing lesson” on my whiteboard and the children attempt to follow the steps on their own boards. This is a great opportunity for my kindergarten students to experiment with proper proportions and build their confidence. I have a firm “no erasing allowed” rule when we do the actual drawing and it's important for my students to practice and experiment with the shapes and sizes a few times before creating the final project.
When it is time for the final draft, I hand each child a 6.5″ x 9″ piece of white cardstock. I trim an inch from each side of the paper ahead of time so that I can mount it onto a piece of colored cardstock (in this case black cardstock) to give the painting a little extra pop.
Just like the drawing lessons, I guide students step by step through the process of creating their final drawing. The children all draw with a pencil, then trace over all of their pencil lines with black crayon. This adds a bold touch to the artwork, and the wax serves as a natural barrier to prevent the watercolor paints from bleeding into each other. I encourage the children to push down kind of hard with the crayon while they trace.
Once all of the lines have been traced, we are ready to paint! We add watercolors as a whole group and I give step by step directions. In this case, we started with red to paint all of the ribbons and stockings. From there, we added green paint on the Christmas tree and painted the walls yellow.
The gifts and ornaments on the tree were painted last. Students were able to select some of their own colors for these accents, but were still given guidance about which colors might look best. We painted the present that was the farthest away from the Christmas tree green and it was a great moment to introduce the artistic concept of balancing colors.
Once the paintings were complete and had adequate time to dry, I used spray adhesive to mount each painting onto an 8.5×11″ piece of black cardstock. Then, each mounted painting was placed inside of a frame and ready to gift wrap. I usually shop for frames at the dollar store, but a classroom parent donated these clear acrylic frames for the class.
I love how stunning each child's painting turned out, my students loved the chance to be an artist, and I am certain that their parents will treasure the artwork for many years to come!
This year's paintings aren't just beautiful… they are also the perfect compliment to Christmas parent gift paintings from previous years. If any of my students have an older sibling that created a watercolor Christmas tree in the past, this year's painting will look beautiful beside the first painting without appearing to be a copy.
More Kindercraze Holiday Ideas
If you are looking for more great ideas and projects for the holidays, you will love these posts. They feature festive projects ideas and fun moments from my own classroom. Click any image for more.