Keep the fun going all year long with this roundup of creative, simple, and fun first 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!
1. Hang 3D line sculptures
Simple strips of paper become a striking display in this cool collaborative first grade art project. It’s a clever way to use up some scraps of construction paper too.
Learn more: Line Art Sculptures from Art With Mrs. Filmore
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 from Kim & Karen: 2 Soul Sisters
3. Spooky blow-and-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 from Prang
4. 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 from Granny Goes to School
5. 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 from Ms. Curry’s Art Room
6. 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 from Art With Mrs. Filmore
7. Make an aquarium
Begin by having your students paint a 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 from First Palette
8. 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 first graders.
Learn more: Sculptures from Pink Stripey Socks
9. 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 from Elements of the Art Room
10. 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 from New City Arts
11. Arrange an abstract alphabet
Grab some markers and have your first 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 from Art Is Basic
12. 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 from Art With Mrs. Nguyen
13. 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 from Art With Mrs. Filmore
14. Collaborate on a group mobile
Learn more: Group Mobile from So Much to Make
15. 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 from Art With Jenny K.
16. Weave wishbone sticks
This project can be adapted for any age, but for first 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 from A Faithful Attempt
17. 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 from Zilker Elementary Art Class
18. Create a cute 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 from Artsy Momma
19. 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 from Adventures in the Art Studio
20. 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 first 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 from The Rolling Art Room
21. Chalk a fluttering butterfly
Chalk art pastels produce impressive results at any age. This first grade art project has a fun but simple 3D element too.
Learn more: Chalk Butterfly from Preschool Mom
22. Paint Cézanne-style apples
This may seem too complicated for a first 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 voilà!
Learn more: Cezanne-Style Apples from Art Rocks
23. Create 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 from Wow Art Project
24. 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 from Jamestown Elementary Art Blog
25. 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 from Elements of the Art Room
26. 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 from Mrs. T’s First Grade Class
27. 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 from Art Teacherin’ 101
28. Paint Easter 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 from Deep Space Sparkle
29. Give colorful birds a Dalí twist
Giant birds with super wiggly and silly 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: Dali Spring Birds from Mrs. T’s First Grade Class
30. 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 first grade art activity stand out.
Learn more: Clay Owls from Art With Mr. Giannetto
31. 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 from Hayt Art Room
32. Start with a dot
Learn more: Dot Art from Firstieland
33. Explore color
This is the perfect first 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 from Leah Newton Art
34. 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 from THe ARt Cart
35. 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 from Miss Young’s Art Room
36. 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 from Young Art Love
37. 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 from The Kitchen Table Classroom
38. Compose a color wheel bouquet
This first 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 from Deep Space Sparkle
39. 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 from Art With Mrs. Filmore
40. 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 from Eighteen25
41. 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 from Deep Space Sparkle
42. 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 from Mrs. Henry’s Class Blog
43. 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 from Elements of the Art Room
44. Practice pattern making
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 from Art Is Basic
45. 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 from Art Teacherin’ 101
46. 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 from Art Projects for Kids
47. 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 from Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists
48. 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 from Art Projects for Kids
49. 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 from Mr. O’s Art Room
50. Sculpt speckled fish
This first 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 from Art Teacherin’ 101
51. 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 from Ms. L’s Art Room
52. 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 from Deep Space Sparkle
53. 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 from The Art Room
54. Whip up a bowl of alphabet soup
Yup, this is really a first 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 from Art With Mrs. Filmore
55. 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 from Snippety Gibbet
56. 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: Owl Eyes from Friendly Froggies
57. Swim with the 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: Seahorses from Art With Mr. Giannetto
58. 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 Opp Art from Darlington School
59. 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 from Artolazzi