Kindergarten Art Centers

Our kindergarteners are enjoying art class! This fall kindergarten exploratory art is 60 minutes long. That’s a long time for a five year old, particularly in the first weeks of school. I’ve had a lot of success with a three-part lesson:

  1. Go to the rug and read a story
  2. Rotate through art centers
  3. Meet back on the rug and ‘share out’ what we liked and learned.

Art Centers:

These centers are much more than fun: students learn about shapes and colors while exploring the clear acrylic shapes. They test their memory at the memo card game. Punching builds hand strength. Stamping with tiny stamps and gluing tiny shapes are great fine motor activity. Magnetic sculpture allows students to explore science and sculpture.

All centers were on a 10 minute rotation. We rotated through the centers for two days so everyone had a chance to explore everything.

Kindergarten art centers

Kindergarten art centers. We did these on a 10-minute rotation over two days.

Want to try these at home?

Click here to learn how to make your own magnetic sculpture center.

Click here to learn how to make your own glue sponge, perfect for collage.


Do you have a favorite kindergarten art activity?

Printing with Modeling Clay

Would you like to try a creative printmaking project? Something inexpensive, that can be done quickly and easily with no fancy tools or equipment? Try printing with modeling clay. This brilliant lesson from the Filth Wizardry blog was a huge hit with our fourth graders.

Students created printed suns or sunflowers using modeling clay and stamp pads. Allow 2-3 40-minutes sessions.


  • Modeling Clay, AKA plasticine clay (note: I got a pack of 24 sticks of modeling clay at my local dollar store)
  • black stamp pads
  • bamboo skewers
  • paper
  • colored pencils
  • pencil and eraser
  • circle template
  • paper to cover table

Class 1: Experiment with modeling clay stamp printing

Our fourth graders began their printmaking project by experimenting with the clay stamp printing. They made a variety of marks on the clay, pressed the clay onto a black stamp pad, and printed on a piece of copy paper.

They printed clay coils and spirals. One boy took an imprint of the sole of his shoe and printed that! Another created a clay pretzel. They created clay hearts and alphabet letters. After a few prints, they smooshed the clay and started again. It was fabulously fun.

Clean up is easy. Since modeling clay never dries out and is reusable, we just placed the stamp pads, clay balls and skewers in our table bins until next class. We used baby wipes to clean the clay (but not all the ink!) off hands after class, then used the wipes to scrub any clay that might have got on the table.

Class 2: Print a sun or sunflower

We began the session by viewing a brief video of sun art  from CBS-TV Sunday Morning.

Student used the templates to trace a circle in the center of the paper. Then the fun began!

Begin by tracing a circle template. Then use the modeling clay to create individual facial feature stamps.

The fourth graders used the modeling clay to create facial feature stamps, sun beam stamps, petal and leaf stamps.

Fourth grade sun, printed and ready to color.

After printing, they colored their prints with colored pencils.

Coloring in a sunflower print with colored pencils.


Printed sun with colored pencil

Optional finishes:

Class 3:

Paint completed print with tempera cake:

Completed prints can be painted immediately with cake tempera.

This example is printed with ink pad, colored with colored pencil, then immediately painted with tempera cake. The sheer paint looked great over the print but did not cover stray ink fingerprints. And some had A LOT of stray fingerprints.

If you want a clean look to ALL the finished artworks, you may want to have students cut out their colored work and mount to colored paper.

Have fun! Your students are guaranteed to love printing with modeling clay!

Thanks for visiting! Don’t forget to please vote for 2012 Art Ed Blog of the Year, which you can do by clicking this link and voting for K-6 Art! Voting open through December 14, 2012.

Paul Klee Painted Desert for Third Grade

3rd graders stamped a line landscape with black acrylic paint, then painted with pan watercolors. Allow two 40-minute sessions.

Do you want a landscape lesson plan that delivers gorgeous art with 100% success in only two 40-minute sessions? Try the Paul Klee lesson featured in the book Dynamic Art Projects for Children by Denise M. Logan. Students spent their first class using black acrylic paint and small pieces of mat board to stamp a jagged landscape. They painted with watercolors during the second class. Here are the results:

Dynamic Art Projects for Children is a fabulous book with many colorful, engaging lesson plans for kids in grades 1-6.  I wrote about the book’s Kuna mola lesson plan in this post.

Can you recommend a book with awesome lesson plans?  Leave a comment!


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