Integrate a little fine art into your Earth Day lesson plans with a simple (and sweet) watercolor painting. I completed this activity with my own kindergarten students last week and it was a huge hit. This blog post breaks the entire process down into small, easy steps that will give all students a feeling of success!
I love, love, LOVE the simplicity of this project!
All that you need is a piece of white cardstock, water color paints, a pencil, black crayon and a hearty-shaped template. (I created mine from an old file folder.)
Have students place the heart template in the center of the cardstock and trace around it with a pencil.
Use the pencil to add a few “blobs” to the heart and create the appearance of land.
Then, add lines that extend from the heart to the edges of the pages. This will give the appearance that the heart-shaped earth is shining.
That's is all of the drawing that's required!
The next step is simple but oh-so-important to help prevent the paint colors from running together. Use a black crayon to trace on top of each pencil line. Encourage students to add a little extra pressure and make nice dark lines with the black crayon.
Once all of the pencil lines have been traced with black crayon, your students will be ready to paint!
In my kindergarten class, I gave step-by-step painting directions so the students would be mindful of using the proper colors. Each student began by painting the land “blobs” green.
Then, they used blue paint to add the oceans to their heart shaped earth.
Finally, the rays of light around the earth were painted with red, orange, yellow, and purple.
The completed project is stunning.
Now that you have seen the tutorial, let me share a few photos from when I did this activity in my own classroom. We completed this painting during VIP day so each of my children had an adult by their side for the project. Having an extra set of hands is not necessary, however. I would gladly do this same project even on a day without any classroom volunteers. As long as you provide step-by-step directions and only give one or two instructions at a time, kindergarten students can have success completing this project independently.
Here you can see students carefully tracing their pencil marks with a black crayon.
Then it was time to paint! Notice that the students used green watercolors to paint the land first, then added blue oceans to the picture.
It's important to tell students how to use watercolors successfully. They don't intuitively know how much water to use. I always give plenty of reminders to keep the paints wet, but not soaking wet. I remind the class that if they want dark colors, the paints should only have a little bit of water in them. The lesson is worthwhile because every single painting that my students created was just as vibrant as this one!
I mounted the completed paintings on black construction paper.
Isn't this just gorgeous?!?
More Ideas for Earth Day
Need a few more ideas for classroom Earth Day projects? Use handprints from the entire class to make a giant painting of the earth. Or create a pretty “stained glass” window decoration of the Earth with tissue paper. Click on a photo for more information!
Interactive Sight Word Readers for Earth Day
Integrate literacy into your Earth Day lessons with the Interactive Sight Word Reader “We Can Take Care of OUR World.” Students will work to spell the sight word “our” while reading about many items that we can recycle to care for the Earth.
Get Your School Involved
Teach your students an authentic lesson in ecology… create a school-wide recycle center! Many standard classroom supplies (such as glue sticks, crayons and markers) can be recycled! Read all about my school's Recycle Center and discover resources to establish one at your school too!