59 Amazing First 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 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

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

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

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

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

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

Pencil self-portrait

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

First grade farm paintings showing perspective

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

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

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

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

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

Stripey modern sculptures made of paper.

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

Cardinals on trees art project.

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

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

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

Abstract art project.

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

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

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

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.

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

Colorful paper 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 from So Much to Make

15. Be Big! with a self-portrait

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

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

Stick sculpture with yarn

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

Starry Night painting by a child.

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

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

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

Clay stars swirled with Van Gogh designs

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

Sunflower art

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 butterfly art project

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

Cezanne style apple art project

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

A giraffe is shown on a bright background.

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

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

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

Winter landscape painting

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 style heart art

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

Fish artwork hanging in front of classroom window

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

A child is seen painting Easter eggs with watercolor paints.

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

Dali style bird art

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

Clay owl artwork

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 doodle style artwork

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

Dot artwork by child

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 from Firstieland

33. Explore color

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

Circle art on a canvas

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

Spiral artwork

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

Klee-style villages art

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

Tie-dyed 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

Bouquet of flowers made of paper

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

Hot air balloon art

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

Yarn baskets

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

Deep space sparkles art

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

Camo lizard art project

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

Rainbow paper woven art

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

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

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

Mad scientist style artwork by children

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

Leaf pattern artwork

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

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

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

Fox art by student

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

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

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

Clay fish art

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

Step-by-step instructions for drawing a bird

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

Scarecrow artwork made from scraps of paper

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

Line drawings of people's faces

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

Alphabet soup sculpture

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

3D houses made out of paper bags

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

Owl eyes made with bits of colored paper

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

Seahorse artwork by children

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

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

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

Paper cupcakes decorated with colorful patterns

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

Keep the creativity going with these 25 Fun First Grade Writing & Storytelling Prompts!

Plus, sign up for our newsletters to get all the latest teaching tips and ideas, straight to your inbox.