By second grade, students have a better grasp of basic art concepts and will therefore love a chance to try out new techniques and materials. That’s why they’ll embrace these imaginative projects, which use a wide variety of media to create amazing results. Whether you want to introduce a famous artist like Monet to your students or introduce a concept like 3D sculpture, there really is something for everyone on our list. And parents will be impressed by the beautiful masterpieces their kids bring home to display!
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1. Try “painting” with yarn
Looking for a way to use up yarn scraps? Try this cool idea! Use pieces of clear self-adhesive shelf paper, and this second grade art project is a breeze.
Learn more: Picklebums
2. Pull string through paint
String-pull painting has become a trendy craft in recent years, and second grade art students will love getting to try it. The abstract designs they’ll create will definitely wow everyone.
Learn more: One Little Project
3. Paint paper flowers
Start by having kids create their own colorful patterned paper using paints. Then, cut out petals and assemble these gorgeous flowers.
Learn more: Color It Like You Mean It/Paper Flowers
4. Carve ancient rock art
First, spend some time learning about cave paintings in places like the American Southwest. Then, use terra-cotta clay to make your own.
Learn more: Deep Space Sparkle
5. Experiment with crayons
This is the perfect second grade art project to do in a pinch since all you will need are crayons, tape, and paper. In addition to taping crayons together and coloring with them, you can have your students experiment with crayon etchings and mixing colors by overlaying them.
Learn more: Crayola/Creative Coloring
6. Float paper hot-air balloons
Once kids learn the trick to making these 3D hot-air balloons, they’ll weave them in no time. Then, they can spend time adding details to the background, like clouds, birds, or kites flying by!
Learn more: Easy Peasy and Fun
7. See yourself in the abstract
Kids start by painting an abstract background. Then they add a photo of themselves with a collage of text strips about their favorite things, dreams, and wishes.
Learn more: Abstract Self-Portraits/Art With Mrs. Filmore
8. Assemble 3D paper robots
Kids love robots! These 3D paper creations are so fun to create, and kids can use a variety of materials to make them.
Learn more: Paper Robots/Art With Mr. Giannetto
9. Take a bite out of this craft
This would be the perfect craft do do around Thanksgiving, but we think it would work anytime. Bonus: If you have a toy kitchen in your classroom, this craft can double as a toy!
Learn more: A Night Owl/Pumpkin Pie
10. Illustrate an underground world
Dream up an imaginary world deep beneath the soil. Kids can take inspiration from illustrators like Beatrix Potter and Garth Williams.
Learn more: Underground World/Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists
11. Mix up a color wheel umbrella
Mixing and contrasting colors are key concepts for young art students to learn. These cute umbrellas are a fun way to see the color wheel in action using liquid watercolors.
Learn more: Leah Newton Art
12. Plant spring flower boxes
Start by having second grade art students paint an oblong cardboard box with terra-cotta paint and fill it with paper shreds for soil. Then, craft paper flowers and plant a fresh display of color!
Learn more: Planter Boxes/Use Your Coloured Pencils
13. Trace and color circle art
Take inspiration from artists like Kandinsky and Frank Stella and make bold geometric art pieces. Kids can trace around lids or plates to make circles or try them freehand.
Learn more: Circle Art/Art Room Blog
14. Create some beaded wind chimes
This is a second grade art project that will take multiple classes to complete, but the end result will totally be worth it. Be sure to really bring it in the supply department with different-colored straws, a variety of beads and pipe cleaners, and some jingle bells.
Learn more: First Palette/Beaded Wind Chimes
15. Surprise them with ferocious creatures
The best art provokes a reaction—in this case, surprise! Fold the paper and sketch your figure’s face, then open it to add a gaping mouth full of teeth.
Learn more: CraftWhack
16. Piece together mosaic fish
Mosaics take a lot of planning, but the results are always so cool. This is a terrific project for using up scraps of construction paper too.
Learn more: Fish Mosaics/Art With Mr. Giannetto
17. Dive deep for underwater portraits
Art is all about encouraging kids to see themselves in unique new ways. Underwater self-portraits allow kids to imagine themselves enjoying life under the sea!
Learn more: The Artsy Fartsy Room
18. Float sponges to create sailboats
These sailboats are easy to replicate with just sponges, wood skewers, card stock, and glue. You can even race them in a big tub of water by having students blow air into a straw to push their boat across the water.
Learn more: Easy Peasy and Fun/Sponge Sailboat
19. Replicate Monet with tissue paper
Tissue paper art replicates the soft lines and translucent colors of Monet’s impressionist style. Use this technique to create your own peaceful lily pond.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me
20. Sketch springtime bunnies and bears
The soft and colorful flowers in the background contrast sharply with the patterned lines of these friendly creatures. Take the pressure off kids by letting them trace the animal shapes so they can focus on adding texture instead.
Learn more: Bears and Bunnies/Art With Mrs. Filmore
21. Hang a wreath collage
One of the best things about this second grade art project is that you can really tailor it to the seasons. In addition to spring flowers, consider fall leaves and paper acorns, or holly leaves and poinsettia flowers.
Learn more: Wreath Collages/Use Your Coloured Pencils
22. Draw a stuffed animal still life
Your students will definitely be excited to bring their favorite stuffed buddy to school. They will be even more excited when they realize it is going to be the subject of their next art project!
Learn more: Art Is Basic/Stuffed Animal Still Life Drawing
23. Draw windy-day houses
Watch trees blowing in the breeze on a windy day. Then take a look at the work of Gustav Klimt and emulate his style for the bendy trees in this project. Then let your imagination take hold and add leaning buildings too!
Learn more: Art at East, Union and More
24. Sculpt birds in their nests
This is a cool project to do if your students are also studying birds in science class, but they’ll enjoy it even if they’re not. Kids can try to re-create real birds, or let their imagination fly and dream up an entirely new species.
Learn more: BES Art Blog
25. Make Not-a-Box sculptures
Before beginning this project, read the book Not a Box with your students. Be sure to set aside multiple class periods to work on these since your students will likely get carried away, in a good way!
Learn more: Art With Ms. Em/3D Not-a-Box Paper Sculpture
26. Explore culture with Native totem poles
Begin by learning about the importance of totems and totem poles to First Nations people of the Northwest Coast. Then have kids choose symbols that are meaningful to them to create their own paper totems.
Learn more: Totem Poles/Jamestown Elementary Art Blog
27. Scream for these ice cream sculptures
Pick up some model magic, then grab your markers and paint and let your students’ imaginations run wild. They will definitely get a kick out of how realistic their ice cream sundaes look!
Learn more: Saint James School/Ice Cream Sundae Art
28. Cut out paper collages
These collages may just look like random scraps of paper, but there are actually multiple art concepts in use here. Kids should be able to identify organic vs. geometric shapes and primary vs. secondary colors.
Learn more: Art Room 104
29. Fold origami whales
Origami whales with curling paper water spouts add dimension and texture to these compositions. Second grade art projects that use folding and cutting give kids a chance to improve their fine motor skills too.
Learn more: Origami Whales/Art With Mr. Giannetto
30. Print symmetrical tigers
Second graders might be a little young to understand the “fearful symmetry” of Blake’s Tyger, but they’ll enjoy using the paint-and-print technique to make these wild faces.
Learn more: Tiger Prints/Mrs. Knight’s Smartest Artists
31. Paint reflected fall trees
Kids will be fascinated to see how wetting the bottom half of the paper changes and mutes the paint colors. Use oil pastels to add lines and water effects.
Learn more: Elements of the Art Room
32. Coil up some snails
Clay can feel a little intimidating, but it’s not too difficult to roll a long “snake” and coil it up. Add a body with eyestalks, and the sculpting is done!
Learn more: The Clever Feather
33. Fill watercolor vases with tissue flowers
The watercolor wash in the background is set off by the geometric-patterned lines of the vases in the foreground. The tissue paper flowers add another bit of texture to this mixed-media project.
Learn more: Watercolor Vases/Art Room Blog
34. Plant a pumpkin farm
These unique pumpkin patches are so fun to make. Ask your students to make the pumpkins as realistic as they can. Then, they can set their imagination free and make the rest of the composition as unrealistic as they like!
Learn more: Color It Like You Mean It/Pumpkin Patch
35. Craft reading self-portraits
This is one of our favorite twists on a self-portrait! Kids can include their favorite book or make one up that tells the story of their own life.
Learn more: Reading Self-Portraits/Use Your Coloured Pencils
36. Walk among a birch tree forest
These landscape paintings help kids understand the concepts of foreground, middle ground, and background. They’ll also use techniques like wax-crayon-resist and cardboard printing.
Learn more: Birch Forest/Art With Mrs. Filmore
37. Escape to a silhouette island
Take a trip to a tropical isle and learn art concepts like warm colors, silhouettes, and horizon line. Each piece will be unique, but they’ll all be masterpieces!
Learn more: Silhouette Islands/Art With Mr. Giannetto
38. Paint some snakes
It will be fun to see how different each of your students’ paintings come out despite starting with the same premise. We love that this second grade art project teaches about perspective as parts of the snake’s body will be visible while other parts will be hidden.
Learn more: Expression of Imagination/Snakes