Art Class with 8 year olds

Besides homeschooling, I teach Sunday School for 8 year olds at my church, and I am a leader for Activity Days, which is an program for 8-11 year old girls run through my church, also. In Activity Days we work on various goals and enrichment activities to help the girls make friends, learn useful and enriching skills, have fun, and strengthen their testimonies of their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My particular group of Activity Day girls includes just the 8 and 9 year olds.

At the beginning of the year we brainstormed what we wanted to accomplish as a group. One of the things almost every girl agreed on was that they liked art and wanted to do an art class. Thankfully, I have a friend who teaches art, and we have a very nice art museum about 15 minutes away. Here are our adventures.

Activity 1: The Art Class. We wanted to work on just some basic skills, so as a warm up I had ready some pages with little doodles/squiggles for the girls to copy. The idea is you first learn about different kinds of lines – straight, curved, oval, etc. – and then instead of drawing a tree you draw different lines that in the end look like a tree. (This all comes from Drawing with Children which was recommended to me at a Homeschool Conference a few years ago. I bought the book, but my kids were too little for us to really dive seriously into it. Still, I highly recommend the book if you can find a space and time where toddlers and babies and preschoolers won’t constantly interrupt. We have yet to master the calm, quiet, and peaceful atmosphere the author says is important for your drawing sessions.)DSC07356

Also, instead of trying to create a masterpiece all your own in the beginning, you try to replicate the work of others first. I found a ton of “worksheets” I guess you could call them at (remember the .org or you get somebody else.) She has a ton of these little worksheet pages you can print off so you don’t have to come up with all your own stuff. So helpful! There are two kinds. The first is just replicating the image you see, and the second has you finish up a mirror image along a line of symmetry. In order to actually download and print you need to get a subscription to her page… but take a look around at all she has. There is most likely something there that would be helpful to you – not just art.

After we had done that for a short while our art teacher taught the kids how to create shadows and use blending with tissues (as in the Kleenex kind) to make things look more realistic. We all made a bunch of spheres. I thought they turned out pretty well.

And then finally she showed us how to use the same technique with other shapes, like trees!

Activity 2: A trip to the semi-local art museum! This was a lot of fun. I am not terribly artistically educated (read as I just like to look at pretty pictures and that’s about it) so we went around and picked paintings that spoke to our inner artist or reminded us of something. I told the girls I would take a picture of them with their favorite piece of work. Turns out they had multiple favorites in every gallery. Oh well. Thank goodness for digital cameras, right?

This one was my favorite!