Whether you’re teaching your own kiddos at home as a homeschool mom (me) or you’re an art teacher trying to get the message across to a crowd (also me) the elements of art are a good place to start. They’re basics, building blocks for fun stuff to come.
Every piece of art work, whether created by your child or a famous artist of years past, uses at least a couple of these seven elements of art. Isn’t that cool? By learning how to define and manipulate these seven ideas your kiddo is on their way to being able to talk about, make, and appreciate art in a whole new way!
If I’m not an artist, then…
Those of you that visit here at The Kitchen Table Classroom often know that I’m a huge fan of learning through exploration. For mom’s that aren’t quite sure where to start teaching this loosey goosey thing called art I say let our kids lead the way. Provide quality materials to which your kids have free access. Let them make their own creations on their own time. Freedom builds creativity.
Books, always the books…
Combine some good, basic supplies with fun children’s books about the elements of art and you’re on your way to a solid foundation of an art education.
These books are so great because if you’re not fully confident in what you are teaching you can learn right alongside of your child. If you are confident well, then, these books are just plain fun.
Children’s literature is a slam dunk in introducing any new concept in my book. It seems less like a boring “lesson” and more like playtime. It’s that whole learning without even knowing they are learning thing that us homeschoolers love!
An easy intro to the elements of art….
While kids have so much to gain through free exploration learning about these seven little elements is an important step in being able to talk about art. This free printable book that focuses on all seven elements. Each page has a super simple definition and an illustration of that specific element and space for your child to play around with their own example.
This book is perfect for the younger, elementary aged crowd. While there is not a huge amount of depth it’s a good introductory way to get those words in their head and start using them as part of their art vocabulary.
Elements of art for the older crowd…
This free printable, of course, includes the same seven elements of art as the printable book. This printable requires your student to match a slightly more in depth definition with the name of the element. There is room inside should you want them to sketch examples of each element.
This printable would make an excellent addition to a journal or art class sketchbook.
And when you’re ready for more elements of art…
Each of the following posts goes into a little more depth than either the printable books or the folding definitions printable. When your kiddo is ready these free printables will combine to really firm up the elements of art concepts. I would say this series of printables is best suited for older elementary/ middle school age and up!
Each element has an entire page devoted to it’s definition, examples, and room to sketch new examples!
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The following vocabulary is included; primary colors, warm & cool colors, analogous colors, value, and complementary colors. Definitions are all right there on your printable for easy referral and independent student work!
Color Mixing on Coffee Filters is a fun way to experiment with color mixing!
This printable points out two different types of textures and how artists rely on each of them.
Actual texture is the easier concept to discuss with kids. This is what kids know when they reach out and touch that bumpy tissue paper collage or smooth porcelain bowl.
The idea that an artist can imply a texture that is other than the surface on which the artwork is created is a tricky one. Students will be asked to create and name a variety of implied textures on their smooth paper!
This melted crayon process art idea is a fun way to explore real texture by using crayons in a non traditional way. Check it out here!
Line is an essential element of art and a great place to start with kids, no matter their age, because it is so unintimidating. Pointing out the element of line in art is an easy place to start! All you need for this exercise is black Sharpies or pens. This helps to really isolate the element of line!
To really experiment with the element of line try Line Exploration with Oil Pastel and Watercolor.
Glue drawing with chalk relies on bold glue outlines which really emphasize the element of line as well!
Using the tips included in the printable below gives kids distinct steps to create the illusion of depth in their artwork, and thereby some realism! Having some tools to draw from gives kids the courage to keep making art!
Although the element of form may seem a little tricky it’s really simple. A shape is flat. A form takes up space in the room. Form is three dimensional and has volume. The real fun begins when students are old enough to understand the bigger concept; that the “idea” of form can be drawn on a two dimensional paper.
Kids can sink their teeth into this element and enjoy identifying shapes in art work and their environment as well as making their own shapes! This printable explores and defines both geometric and organic shapes.
This lesson on Adinkra printmaking is an easy application for shapes as symbols! Check it out here!
These little elements are building blocks for some big things! If you love the lessons and free printables you see here at the Kitchen Table Classroom check out my e-book Artists and the Elements. It ties together all the free resources you already love, introduces new lessons and printables, and allows you to “open and go” for art class all year long!
Save this one for later and share what other great resources you use to teach the elements of art!