For kids learning the elements of art is kind of like learning their ABC’s. The elements are simple little ideas, pieces that work together to make something bigger. Teaching the elements of art for kids doesn’t need to be intimidating.
Talk about art, look at art, make art, use art words. Doing these things when your kids are little will allow your kids to grow into adults than can express themselves creatively and appreciate the artwork of others. Teaching these basic building blocks of art is a great place to start!
Let’s break this book down….
The title page is pretty self explanatory, right? You’ve got this one.
Page two refers to the element of space. At this young age we’re only going to break this down into two concepts; positive space and negative space.
Positive space is the space occupied by your subject. In the example below the positive space is the space occupied by the vase. Negative space is the space around the object.
There is space for kids to draw their own simple example of the two types of space and label them as such.
Onto the next page….
Lines are easy and fun to explain to little ones because they are a language kids already speak. A line is a dot that just keeps going. Lines can be fat, thin, wavy, straight, jagged, curly, etc.
Fill each circle with a different type of line.
The color page defines the three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. If your kiddo uses colored pencils or crayons to fill in the three large circles using the primary colors they will get a chance to experience mixing the secondary colors as well. Even though the secondary colors (green, purple, and orange) are not defined as such within the book it’s a great discussion point as your little person works!
Textures and Shapes
Texture is one of the most fun elements of art for kids because it uses a sense they are so in touch with~ touch! (get it…) Although some artists create an “implied” texture within their artwork for the sake of simplicity we are going to talk about “actual” texture. Kids can find surfaces that illustrate a variety of textures they enjoy and use the side of a crayon to do a small rubbing on each square of the texture page.
Shapes are another element that seem so basic but are a huge component of creating thoughtful art! Making easy shapes is a no pressure way to dive into art making! The book page asks students to make shapes with no corners, as well as shapes with corners, and four corners.
A discussion about the names of these shapes, or lack thereof, and the variety of possibilities will be a fun one for sure!
I saved the “hard” ones for last! (Just kidding-you can do it!)
Value is the lightness or darkness of a color. This can refer to black and all colors. There are a couple of ways that this little exercise can be completed. If your little person has enough control over a pencil they can create value scale (from light to dark) using more or less pressure on a pencil. (You can also use crayons in a similar way, but with the addition of a black crayon.)
If not (which most little ones wouldn’t) use paint! Give your child a color of their choosing plus black and white. Let them experiment making their chosen hue lighter and darker and painting their color samples on their book page.
The element of form refers to three dimensional objects which take up space and have volume. The easiest way to illustrate this is with some conversation about everyday objects in your house, Compare a cereal box to a piece of paper. One is a flat shape and one is a form. Compare a ball to a cut out paper in the shape of a circle. Being able to see and hold some objects which constitute “forms” make this concept much simpler for kids to understand.
This book page illustrates the difference between a square and a cube and a triangle and a pyramid. Let the kids try to make their own three dimensional form. Don’t worry if its not one hundred percent accurate. We’re not looking for perfection here. Were looking for understanding.
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Whether you used this Elements of Art for Kids book at home, at your homeschool co-op class, or in a classroom I hope it serves your students well and sparks a discussion that continues!
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!