Chalk Pastel California Missions for Fourth Grade


Fourth graders made chalk pastel drawings as a complement to their California history social studies unit.  Allow two 40-minute classes.


Thinking about a successful, fun art project for a 4th grade California Mission lesson? Try this  art project from Deep Space Sparkle, easily adapted for a California Mission project.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Diego de Acala, San Diego, California


  • black, dark blue or purple construction paper
  • chalk pastels
  • black or dark blue oil pastel for outlining
  • hair spray (or other fixative) to keep completed artwork from smearing

Examples of completed 4th grade student work:

Deep Space Sparkle has all the instructions and a downloadable drawing aid for adobe architecture.  You may want to print out this California mission coloring page to use as a Mission drawing aid.

This art project fit in beautifully for our school’s annual 4th grade California history field trip. This year: Rancho Buena Vista Adobe. In past years: Mission San Juan Capistrano.


Don’t let students blow excess pastel color. During class, provide a piece of newspaper so they can tap off the excess.

After class, I washed down the tables with a bucket of plain water and a large sponge. Expect to change the water and rinse the sponge out after just a few tables – they get really dusty – but it is worth it for such a successful project.

The completed artwork will smear unless you spray it with a fixative (I use ordinary unscented Aqua Net hairspray from the drugstore). Please spray the artwork outside!


UPDATE: New Photo tour of Mission San Diego de Acala! Full color photos of Mission San Diego PLUS PHOTOS OF REAL SIGNAGE from the exhibits. A great resource for your classroom, Mission San Diego field trip or mission project. Just $5 each. Click here for Mission San Diego PowerPoint.  Click here for Mission San Diego Keynote.


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2 thoughts on “Chalk Pastel California Missions for Fourth Grade

  1. These mission chalk drawings are beautiful. I wonder if using oil pastels would create the same bold colorful effect? It would certainly be less messy.

    • Hi Terri
      I agree – chalk pastels are really messy. Why not try a mini sample of each? I personally think it takes less time to color in with chalks…not sure if this is a big issue for you. Please check out the Deep Space Sparkle post where I learned this project. Good luck!

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