58 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 cat made out of the letter H.

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!

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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: Art With Mrs. Filmore/Line Art Sculptures

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: Kim & Karen: 2 Soul Sisters

3. Go wild for self-portraits

Pencil self-portrait of a child with hair made of folded construction paper strips

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: Granny Goes to School

4. 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: Ms. Curry’s Art Room

5. 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: Art With Mrs. Filmore/Skywriting Planes

6. 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: First Palette

7. Take inspiration from a Calder sculpture

Sculptures made of colorful construction paper in abstract shapes

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: Pink Stripey Socks

8. Cut out cute cardinals

1st Grade Art

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: Elements of the Art Room/Charley Harper inspired Cardinals

9. 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: New City Arts

10. Arrange an abstract alphabet

Alphabet letters drawn at random with color and patterns added

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: Art Is Basic

11. 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: Art With Mrs. Nguyen

12. 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: Art With Mrs. Filmore

13. Collaborate on a group mobile

Mobile made of a variety of paper circles in different colors and patterns (First Grade Art Project)

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: So Much to Make

14. 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: Art With Jenny K.

15. 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: Artolazzi

16. Weave wishbone sticks

Forked stick with yarn stripes woven between the twigs

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: A Faithful Attempt

17. Re-create a starry skyscape

Simple reproduction of Van Gogh's Starry Night done with oil pastels (First Grade Art)

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: 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: 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: Adventures in the Art Studio

20. Add texture to sunflowers with glue

Sunflowers made by outlining them with black glue and filling in with water colors (First Grade 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: The Rolling Art Room

21. Chalk a fluttering butterfly

Butterfly art made with chalk pastels and black construction paper

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

Learn more: Preschool Mom

22. Paint Cézanne-style apples

Cezanne-style painting of a bowl of apples against a colorful background

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: 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: 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: Jamestown Elementary Art Blog

25. Color-mix to create winter landscapes

Painting of large yellow and orange sun on a blue sky with snow and bare black trees

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: Elements of the Art Room/Winter Landscapes

26. Make Mondrian-patterned hearts

Piet Mondrian squares print surrounded by hearts with a similar pattern (First Grade Art)

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

Learn more: Mrs. T’s First Grade Class/Mondrian-Style Hearts

27. Fly some cool koinobori kites

Colorful fish-shaped kites hanging in a 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: Art Teacherin’ 101/Koinobori Kites

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: Deep Space Sparkle

29. Give colorful birds a Dalí twist

Long-legged blue birds on a watercolor background of yellow, orange, and pink

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: Mrs. T’s First Grade Class/Dali Spring Birds

30. Sculpt the cutest owl vignettes

Brown and orange clay owls perched on sticks and mounted on black plaques (First Grade Art)

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: Art With Mr. Giannetto/Clay Owls

31. Doodle like Kandinsky

First grade art student adding blue watercolor to a page of scribbles using a cotton swab

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: Hayt Art Room

32. Start with a dot

Black crayon drawing of child holding an ice cream cone, with a house and trees

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: 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: Leah Newton Art

34. Think in circles

Canvas divided into squares, with different circle patterns and colors in each

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: THe ARt Cart

35. Scribble a spiral

Spiral made of crayon scribbles and painted over with black watercolors

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

Learn more: Miss Young’s Art Room

36. Use shapes to create Klee-inspired villages

Crayon cityscapes drawn in the cubist style of Paul Klee (First Grade 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: Young Art Love

37. Blend colors using coffee filters

Coffee filters dyed a rainbow of colors

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: The Kitchen Table Classroom

38. Compose a color wheel bouquet

Flowers made of scraps of paper and fabric representing the color wheel (First Grade Art)

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: Deep Space Sparkle/Color Wheel Bouquet

39. Float away with mixed-media collages

Brightly-patterned paper hot air balloon on a marker-striped background with the photograph of a child in the basket

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: Art With Mrs. Filmore/Hot-Air Balloons

40. Build baskets with yarn and glue

Small baskets made of colorful yarn stiffened with glue (First Grade Art)

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: Eighteen25

41. Drip like Pollock

First grade art student pulling paint-covered yarn along a piece of paper

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: Deep Space Sparkle/Paint Like Pollock

42. Craft cleverly camouflaged lizards

Paper lizards colored to camouflage themselves against a striped and zebra background

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:  Mrs. Henry’s Class Blog

43. Fashion a paper rainbow

White paper cloud with green, yellow, orange, and red strips woven through it (First Grade 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: Elements of the Art Room/Paper Rainbow

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: Art Is Basic

45. Put the “A” in STEAM

Mixed media first grade art projects showing chalk bubbles and paper beakers painted in various patterns

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: Art Teacherin’ 101/Mad Scientist

46. Play with patterns

Crayon drawing of a leaf divided and painted different colors and 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: Art Projects for Kids/Leaf Patterns

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: Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists

48. Draw a fox step-by-step

Simple fox drawn in pastels, sitting on a green hill

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: Art Projects for Kids/Draw a Fox

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: Mr. O’s Art Room

50. Sculpt speckled fish

Fish sculptures are shown (first grade 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: Art Teacherin’ 101/Clay Fish

51. Teach them to draw little birdies

Paper birdhouses and instructions on how to draw a simple bird that starts with an arrow

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: Ms. L’s Art Room

52. Design autumn scarecrows

Fabric scrap scarecrows on a bright background of fields and sky

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: Deep Space Sparkle/Autumn Scarecrows

53. Make fine art with some fine lines

Worksheet of circles turned into a variety of funny 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: The Art Room

54. Whip up a bowl of alphabet soup

Mixed media art project showing bowl of alphabet soup with a napkin and a real spoon holding an alphabet bead

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: Art With Mrs. Filmore/Alphabet Soup

55. Construct colorful 3D houses

Paper lunch bag stuffed and turned into a house, sitting on construction paper lawn with a tree and road

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: Snippety Gibbet

56. Put together mosaic owls

Owl face made with small scraps 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: Friendly Froggies

57. Swim with the seahorses

Painted seahorses in the style of Eric Carlyle

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: Art With Mr. Giannetto/Seahorses

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: Darlington School

Keep the creativity going with these 25 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 first grade art projects anyone can do!