72 Amazing 1st Grade Art Projects To Inspire Creativity and Play

Project ideas for every kid!

Examples of first grade art projects including a self portrait made with a balloon for bubble gum and a picture of a child in a hot air balloon painting with cotton clouds.
We Are Teachers; artwithmrsfilmore.com

Keep the fun going all year long with this roundup of creative, simple, and fun 1st grade art projects. Whether you feel like diving into painting, pattern-making, mixed media, or sculpture, there is something for everyone on this list.

We have projects that can be tackled over multiple classes as well as projects that can be completed in under an hour. Students will learn basic art concepts like color mixing while discovering famous artists. Your little artists will be proud to take their masterpieces home!

Paper sculptures made of colorful folded paper strips, hung on the wall (First Grade Art)

1. Hang 3D line sculptures

Simple strips of paper become a striking display in this cool collaborative 1st grade art project. It’s a clever way to use up scraps of construction paper too.

Learn more: Line Art Sculptures

Jeff Koontz-inspired drawings of balloon dogs (First Grade Art Projects)

2. Sketch balloon dogs

Jeff Koons’ balloon dog sculptures are a hit with kids and adults alike. Let kids draw their own using a walk-through video to get them started.

Learn more: Balloon Dog

Spooky blow and resist painted web as an example of first grade art projects.

3. Blow a crayon-resist web

This is a modern twist on the classic crayon resist project. After drawing a web in pencil and tracing it with a white crayon, use a pipette to transfer watercolor paint to the paper. Then use a straw to blow the paint across the paper.

Learn more: Spooky Blow and Resist Web

4. Learn to draw Bluey

Every kid will love learning to draw their own version of this beloved Australian pup! After they follow along with the video, have them fill in their own background to complete the picture.

Pencil self-portrait with wild construction paper hair added

5. Go wild for self-portraits

Start with a simple self-portrait sketch. Then let kids go wild with the hair, adding paper strips in crazy colors and patterns.

Learn more: 3D Hair Self-Portraits

First grade farm paintings showing perspective

6. Point out perspective with Andrew Wyeth farms

Even firsties can master perspective with this easy project. The dot-painted flowers and vegetables are fun and easy too.

Learn more: Perspective Project

Colorful paper plane flying over a tissue paper background, leaving a heart made of cotton behind (First Grade Art Projects

7. Fly cotton-skywriting planes

This mixed-media idea is so clever! Kids use tissue squares to create a colorful sky background, then glue cotton batting over the top to simulate skywriting from a paper plane.

Learn more: Skywriting Planes

8. Show movement with lines

Lines are an incredibly simple thing to draw, but when you use them right, they can add a real element of excitement to your work. Learn how it’s done with this helpful video.

A blue bowl has a painted fish in it with colorful gravel (first grade art)

9. Turn paper plates into aquariums

Begin by having your students paint a paper plate blue, then have them create a goldfish using craft foam. Finally, piece it all together and decorate the aquarium with colored pebbles, sand, or anything else of your choosing!

Learn more: Paper Plate Aquarium

Stripey modern sculptures made of paper.

10. Take inspiration from a Calder sculpture

Oversize sculptures like Alexander Calder’s are accessible and fun for kids of any age. Re-create them in paper form with this engaging art project for 1st graders.

Learn more: Calder-Inspired Sculptures

Paper birch trees with cutout cardinals on top

11. Cut out cute cardinals

If you haven’t seen Charley Harper’s wonderful wildlife art, you should definitely check it out. Share it with your students, then get ready to create these charming cardinals.

Learn more: Charley Harper-Inspired Cardinals

12. Design a zentangle

Zentangles are a combination of art and mindfulness, and you really can’t do them wrong. Learn the technique in this video, then let kids play around with patterns on their own.

Leaf printed with white paint and tinted with colored pencils on black paper (First Grade Art Projects)

13. Print and color autumn leaves

Gather large leaves to use for this project. Kids coat them with white paint, then press them on black paper to make prints. Once the paint is dry, they add various hues using colored pencils.

Learn more: Leaf Prints

Abstract art project.

14. Arrange an abstract alphabet

Grab some markers and have your 1st grade art students write the letters of the alphabet randomly all over a piece of paper. Then, use color to fill in enclosed areas. The possibilities are endless!

Learn more: Abstract Art

The letter H turned into a cat with a colored-in background (First Grade Art)

15. Turn letters into animals

This is another simple way to combine letters with art. Have kids draw any letter they like, then turn it into any animal they choose.

Learn more: Letter Animals

16. Pinch a heart-shaped pot

Pinch pots are an easy clay project that 1st graders will love. They also make a nice gift for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and other special occasions.

Learn more: Pinch Pot Heart

A self portrait is drawn with colored pencil. There are circles around the head and a pink balloon is coming out of the mouth and is supposed to be bubblegum.

17. Create a bubblegum self-portrait

This is such a fun spin on a traditional self-portrait. Your students will definitely get a kick out of adding their “bubblegum” to their masterpieces.

Learn more: Bubble Gum Self-Portrait

Colorful paper mobile made of colorful paper circles

18. Collaborate on a group mobile

Collaborative art projects are always a lot of fun. This one creates a beautiful mobile perfect for hanging in the classroom or offering up at a school art auction.

Learn more: Group Mobile

Crayon drawing of a child on a long piece of paper folded in quarters (First Grade Art)

19. Be Big! with a self-portrait

Kick off the school year by reading Be Big! Beatrice’s First Day of First Grade. Then, make these cute self-portraits to show your kids just how big they’re getting.

Learn more: Big Self-Portraits

Stick sculpture with yarn woven between the branches

20. Weave wishbone sticks

This project can be adapted for any age, but for 1st grade art students, use thick, chunky yarn and sticks with a wide “V,” along with blunt plastic darning needles. The “in and out” pattern of the yarn will help improve dexterity and fine motor skills.

Learn more: Wishbone Sticks

A painting of a worried looking polar bear (first grade art)

21. Cut out a polar bear

Have your students paint the background using watercolor or tempera paint, then get started on the polar bear. Have students draw two ears, a round face, and the body on white paper with black marker, then cut the pieces out. Finally, let your students personalize their bears with their choice of expression or attire.

Learn more: Polar Bear Painting

22. Add texture to a turtle shell

Make this easy by copying blank turtles for everyone to color. Then, have kids add a variety of textures and patterns to their turtle. Tip: Look at pictures of real turtles for potential pattern ideas.

Starry Night painting by a child.

23. Re-create a starry skyscape

Here’s a simple but impressive project to try. Oil pastels are easy to use and make kids feel like real artists. Let them use their own techniques to re-create Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night.

Learn more: Starry Night Painting

Clay stars swirled with Van Gogh designs

24. Copy Van Gogh’s stars in clay

Want to try a different take on the classic painting? These Van Gogh–inspired clay stars are the way to go! (They also make excellent holiday ornaments.)

Learn more: Van Gogh Stars in Clay

Sunflower art

25. Add texture to sunflowers with glue

Here’s one more take on Van Gogh, this time focusing on his sunflowers. Impressionism is known for textures, so this 1st grade art project uses black glue to give dimension to simple sunflowers. Kids draw the sunflowers, then outline them with glue. When the glue is dry, add soft, beautiful watercolors.

Learn more: Glue Sunflowers

26. Use forks to make tulips

Collect plastic forks from your takeout meals, or hit the thrift store and buy a collection of metal spoons you can use again and again. Then, use them to create these simple but charming spring flowers.

Chalk butterfly art project

27. Chalk a fluttering butterfly

Chalk art pastels produce impressive results at any age. This 1st grade art project has a fun but simple 3D element too.

Learn more: Chalk Butterfly

Cezanne style apple art project

28. Paint CĂ©zanne-style apples

This may seem too complicated for a 1st grade art project, but you can attack it in several steps. Teach kids to draw the bowl and apples. Then, have them draw the outlines with oil pastel to create a barrier. Paint the apples red and then the background with colorful watercolors, and voilĂ !

Learn more: Cezanne-Style Apples

A construction paper giraffe is shown on a bright background.

29. Assemble a friendly giraffe

Pair this cute art project with a lesson on giraffes! Read books like Giraffes Can’t Dance or watch some videos on these tall creatures before doing a guided drawing of a general giraffe shape. Once the shape is there, let your students personalize their giraffes in any way they wish.

Learn more: Giraffe Art

30. Print with foam blocks

Show kids how to carefully carve designs into foam blocks using blunt tools like a chopstick. Then, make colorful prints using their pattern blocks.

Cardboard ponds with crayon lily pads and sculpted clay frogs (First Grade Art)

31. Hop onto Monet lily pads

Monet’s lily pond paintings are among his most famous. Take a look at some of them, then have kids create their own mixed-media lily pad projects adorned with cute clay frogs!

Learn more: Monet Lily Pads

Winter landscape painting

32. Color-mix to create winter landscapes

This simple art project combines a surprising amount of concepts, including color mixing, stamping, and honing fine motor skills. And the results are pretty striking.

Learn more: Winter Landscapes

Mondrian style heart art

33. Make Mondrian-patterned hearts

Mondrian’s bright, simple patterns are very appealing to young kids. They’ll enjoy mimicking his style with this easy activity.

Learn more: Mondrian-Style Hearts

34. Circular yarn weaving on paper plates

This yarn-weaving project produces impressive results, but it’s pretty easy to master. It’s a nice way to combine fine motor skills practice with art.

Fish artwork hanging in front of classroom window

35. Fly some cool koinobori kites

Try an Asian-inspired art project with these colorful fish kites. May 5 is Children’s Day in Japan, and these koinobori are an important part of the celebration. Firsties in any country will love creating their own kites in springtime or anytime.

Learn more: Koinobori Kites

A child is seen painting Easter eggs with watercolor paints.

36. Decorate watercolor eggs

This is such a fun art project, and the technique can definitely be used for more than just Easter eggs. Use a wax crayon or oil pastel to draw the designs onto the egg, then color some of the spaces with crayon. Finally, use watercolor to paint over the whole egg with a single color. It’s so cool to watch the way the paint avoids the crayon and allows the designs to peek through.

Learn more: Painted Easter Egg Art

37. Mix in some salt

Combine science with art in this project. First, draw snowflakes with glue and sprinkle salt over the top. After it dries, add a few drops of watercolor and watch the salt absorb it and change color like magic!

Long-legged birds drawn over watercolor backgrounds

38. Give colorful birds a DalĂ­ twist

Giant birds with super-long and wiggly legs? First graders will love the silliness of this project, but it’s not all just fun and games. These watercolor birds show the differences between warm and cool colors, and the long legs are a tribute to the master of the unexpected, Salvador Dalí.

Learn more: DalĂ­ Spring Birds

Clay owl artwork mounted on wood plaques

39. Sculpt the cutest owl vignettes

This is a unique twist on standard clay projects. The owls themselves are easy to create, and mounting them on a wood plaque really makes this 1st grade art activity stand out.

Learn more: Clay Owls

Kandinsky doodle style artwork

40. Doodle like Kandinsky

Kandinsky is known for his circles, but his other abstract work is mesmerizing too. Read the book The Noisy Paint Box to learn about the artist’s life. Then use black markers, watercolors, and cotton swabs to help achieve that muted color/haze.

Learn more: Kandinsky Doodles

41. Wind yarn through straws

This easy 1st grade project creates a bracelet kids can wear. Let them choose their favorite colors and make a wearable work of art!

Learn more: Painted Easter Egg Art

Dot artwork by child, showing the dot as an ice cream cone

42. Start with a dot

The Dot is a favorite read-aloud and the perfect springboard for so many art activities! In this one, kids take a single dot and turn it into whatever they can imagine.

Learn more: Dot Art Project

A drawing shows a girl holding an umbrella that is divided into sections with each one a different color.

43. Explore color mixing

This is the perfect 1st grade art project when you are short on time since it can be completed in an hour or less. Before beginning, read the book Mix It Up! with your students to introduce the concept of color mixing.

Learn more: Watercolor Art

Circle art on a canvas

44. Think in circles

Divide a large canvas into even squares. Each student gets a square to decorate with their own circle art, creating a cohesive but unique whole.

Learn more: Circle Art

Spiral artwork made with crayons and watercolors

45. Scribble a spiral

Teach contrasting colors and composition with this simple project, using crayons and watercolors. It’s like tie-dye for paper!

Learn more: Scribble Spiral

Klee-style villages art projects

46. Use shapes to create Klee-inspired villages

Learn about Paul Klee’s cubist paintings, then have kids create their own with oil pastels and watercolors. These vibrant pieces are sure to brighten your classroom walls.

Learn more: Klee-Style Villages

47. Fold simple origami dogs

Introduce kids to origami with this really easy folding project. After they make their paper pup, they can add details like facial features, patterns, and colors.

Tie-dyed coffee filters made with washable markers

48. Blend colors using coffee filters

There’s a reason this project is so popular: It’s mesmerizing to watch colors bleed together and create a rainbow of new colors and patterns. All you need are color filters, washable markers, a spray bottle of water, and newspaper or paper towels.

Learn more: Color Mixing Coffee Filters

Bouquet of flowers made of paper

49. Compose a color wheel bouquet

This 1st grade art project is part treasure hunt and part art lesson. Pull out your box of scrap paper and have students dig through to find the pieces they need to complete a color wheel daisy. You’ll wind up with a whole garden!

Learn more: Color Wheel Bouquet

Hot air balloon art made in collage style against a watercolor background

50. Float away with mixed-media collages

The personal aspect of this mixed-media hot-air balloon collage is what really makes it stand out. (Tip: Trim the student pictures yourself since the detailed cuts may be too much for little fingers.)

Learn more: Hot-Air Balloons

Yarn baskets

51. Build baskets with yarn and glue

There are no major weaving skills required for these wacky baskets. Simply dip strips of yarn into glue and lay over an upside-down paper cup or bowl. When the glue dries, remove the paper cup, and you’ve got a basket!

Learn more: Yarn Baskets

52. Discover complementary colors

Learning color theory at an early age will help kids develop their artistic instincts. Draw simple patterns and fill them with complementary colors to explore this concept.

Child dragging a piece of yarn dipped in paint across a piece of yellow paper

53. Drip like Pollock

Here’s a great use for yarn scraps. Kids dip yarn into tempera paint, then drip or drag it over the paper to create abstract designs reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. (Tip: Read Action Jackson first for inspiration.)

Learn more: Paint Like Pollock

Paper lizards colored to look like their colorful patterned backgrounds

54. Craft cleverly camouflaged lizards

Combine art and science with a lesson about camouflage. Then challenge your students to create a patterned background for a paper lizard to blend into.

Learn more: Camo Lizards

Rainbow paper woven through a white paper cloud

55. Fashion a paper rainbow

Paper weaving is a fun and simple craft that opens up lots of possibilities. Firsties will enjoy making these pretty rainbows; you could even tie it in with a lesson about weather!

Learn more: Paper Rainbow

56. Paint with cotton swabs

Swap out brushes for cotton swabs and try basic pointillism with your firsties. This art technique is very simple, but it can be used to create incredible masterpieces.

Large block letters are shown with patterns drawn in them with crayon. (first grade art)

57. Fill in letter outlines

This is a fun way to have the class work on a group project since each kid can take a different letter that can be used to spell something out on a bulletin board, etc. Print the outline of the letters, then let your students create patterns inside them with crayons or other media.

Learn more: Letter Pattern Art

Mad scientist style artwork by children

58. Put the “A” in STEAM

This mixed-media project has several components, so plan to do it over several days. The results are worth it, and they’re so much fun!

Learn more: Mad Scientist Art Project

Leaf pattern artwork made with crayons and watercolors

59. Play with patterns

When the leaves start to change color, try this pretty project using the watercolor-resist method. Students can really let their imaginations run wild with the pattern designs and color choices.

Learn more: Leaf Patterns

African art inspired spider with a blue patterned background and full moon

60. Explore African art with Anansi

Read the story of Anansi the Spider, an African folk hero. Then use African art styles to make Anansi pictures to hang in the classroom.

Learn more: African Folk Hero Art

Simple drawing of a fox colored in with pastels

61. Draw a fox step-by-step

First graders are just starting to move away from stick figures and into more advanced drawing. Hit the link for a step-by-step tutorial that even little ones can follow with oil pastels.

Learn more: Draw a Fox

Bottle outlines filled in with markers, with overlaps showing blended colors

62. Color blend on bottle prints

This is a neat way to learn about color blends. Imagine the bottles lined up in a sunny window and use markers, paints, or crayons to fill in the colors you’d see.

Learn more: Colored Bottle Prints

Clay fish mounted on sticks stuck into clay bases

63. Sculpt speckled fish

This 1st grade art project requires a kiln for best results. The real star of the show is the magic glaze, which bursts into cool patterns when fired.

Learn more: Clay Fish

Step-by-step instructions for drawing a bird

64. Teach them to draw little birdies

Kids will be amazed when they learn to draw this simple bird starting with an arrow. They’ll also love designing birdhouses for their avian friends, which culminates in a fantastic classroom display that’s perfect for spring.

Learn more: Bird Drawing

Scarecrow artwork made from scraps of paper

65. Design autumn scarecrows

After painting a vivid background of sky and fields, students root through the scrap paper bin to assemble colorful scarecrows for the finishing touch. (Tip: Create templates to make it easier for them to cut out the pants, shirt, and hat.)

Learn more: Autumn Scarecrows

Line drawings of people's faces

66. Make fine art with some fine lines

Start with a sheet of circles (pre-printed, or have kids trace them from templates). Then have firsties add bold lines to design a variety of faces. This quick and simple activity is lots of fun and really sets their creativity free.

Learn more: Line Drawings

Drawing of alphabet soup with a spoon mounted on top

67. Whip up a bowl of alphabet soup

Yup, this is really a 1st grade art project! Kids practice their letters and learn about mixed media, tackling the activities in steps. The plastic spoons with alphabet letters added at the end really make the pieces pop!

Learn more: Alphabet Soup

3D houses made out of paper bags

68. Construct colorful 3D houses

Learn about architecture styles and skills, then design paper-bag houses. Encourage students to add plenty of personal details to make the designs their own.

Learn more: Paper Bag Houses

Owl eyes made with bits of colored paper

69. Put together mosaic owls

Paper mosaics are like a puzzle you create yourself, plus they give kids practice with scissor skills. And these owl faces are just adorable!

Learn more: Mosaic Owls

Seahorse artwork by children

70. Swim with seahorses

This bright project is inspired by Eric Carle’s Mister Seahorse. Kids use a variety of art methods to create these cheery underwater scenes.

Learn more: Mixed Media Seahorses

A little boy stands in front of a bulletin board with wings sticking out on either side of him.

71. Spread your wings

This is such a unique way to incorporate an entire grade into one project while also creating the cutest photo op ever!

Learn more: Wing Photo Op Art

Paper cupcakes decorated with colorful patterns

72. Frost Thiebaud-inspired cupcakes

Learn about realism in art, and take a look at Wayne Thiebaud’s colorful paintings of pastries for inspiration. Then make your own patterned cupcakes with torn-paper frosting. Yum!

Learn more: Cupcake Art

Keep the creativity going with these Fun First Grade Writing & Storytelling Prompts!

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Keep firsties fun going all year long with this roundup of creative, simple, and enjoyable 1st grade art projects anyone can do!