46 Fantastic Third Grade Art Projects That Teach and Inspire

Impressive projects for creative kids.

Examples of the best third grade art projects including folding and curving colorful lines and two kids wearing aprons pretending to eat paper mache ice cream cones

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Every artist was first an amateur.” That’s why it’s so important to expose kids to plenty of artistic styles and concepts early in life. The more they experience now, the more inspired they’ll be as they grow. We have compiled some of the best third grade art projects that utilize a variety of media from paint and pastels to clay and collage. Some of the projects are based on famous artists or art movements and therefore provide an opportunity for an art history lesson as well! There’s so much here to inspire young artists.

1. Grow a garden of Georgia O’Keeffe flowers

Large red, blue, yellow, and purple flowers in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe (Third Grade Art)

O’Keeffe’s big brilliant blooms are very accessible for kids. Paint enormous flowers in a variety of colors and mount them on contrasting backgrounds for a gorgeous display.

Learn more: Paintbrush Rocket

2. Paint watercolor winter landscapes

Collection of colorful winter landscapes painted on cardboard rounds

Capture the gorgeous colors of a winter sunset with this third grade art project. Painting on cardboard pizza rounds makes it extra fun!

Learn more: Cassie Stephens/Watercolor Winter Landscapes

3. Create African masks


An African mask is constructed from paper, beads, and other mixed media.

Teach children about the history of African masks and their uses in ceremonies, then let them create their own masks that are meaningful to them. Provide many different types of materials so kids can really personalize their masks.

Learn more: Ecokidsart

4. Make mixed-media jellyfish

Collage of watercolor resist paintings with pastel chalk jellyfish (Third Grade Art Projects)

First, kids create a gradient background and add paint-spatter bubbles. Then, they use chalk and oil pastels for the jellyfish and seaweed. Things really are better under the sea!

Learn more: Deep Space Sparkle


5. Learn about value with Popsicles

multiple drawings of popsicles are shown on black backgrounds.

Teach your students about value, then have them create these Popsicles using Crayola chalk on black card stock. Let your students pick light and dark shades of a color to use on their Popsicles.

Learn more: Art Teacher in LA

6. Use dots to paint aboriginal-style animals

Animals painted in solid colors, surrounded by multi-colored dots (Third Grade Art Projects)

Explore the history of Australian aboriginal art, then create some of your own. The results of this third grade art project are truly impressive.

Learn more: The Artsy Fartsy Art Room

7. Paint with salt

Brightly colored puffy paint is swirled across a paper.

First, have students create a design on paper using Elmer’s Glue. Then, have them pour salt over the paper and clean the excess off the paper. Finally, have them dip a paintbrush into watercolor paint and watch as their designs come to life!

Learn more: Artful Parent

8. Add cotton steam to 3D mugs

Construction paper coffee mug with cotton batting used to create steam

Cotton batting adds such a cool detail to these colorful mugs. Use oil pastels and the watercolor resist method to create the background and mug pattern.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Filmore

9. Learn to add dimension with watercolor donuts

Watercolor painted donuts in a variety of colors

Use jar lids in two different sizes to draw donut shapes. Then, fill them in with watercolors, using different shades to add depth.

Learn more: Color It Like You Mean It

10. Teach perspective with 3D letters

Kids love drawing bubble letters so why not use it as an opportunity to teach one-point perspective?

Learn more: How To Draw Step by Step

11. Paint trees from a new vantage point

Trees are painted from the perspective of someone laying on the ground looking up. Leaves are created using a dotting technique.

This is another lesson in one-point perspective. Have your students use a Q-tip to create dots for leaves. Be sure to have them make the dots smaller as they get closer to the top since those leaves are farther away.

Learn more: Beverly Gurganus Fine Art and Home

12. Weave two paintings together

Two paintings of leaves are cut into strips and woven together.

“You want me to cut up my paintings?” Students may be surprised at the instructions, but once they weave the two together, they’ll be wowed by the results.

Learn more: Kitchen Table Classroom

13. Handwrite and create cursive bugs

The name Michelle written in cursive with a reflected version below, colored to look like a bug (Third Grade Art Projects)

Third graders are often working to perfect their cursive writing, so that makes this project a great fit. Have kids write their name and mirror it below. Then, add colors and details to turn it into a cute name bug.

Learn more: TinyArtRoom

14. Use mixed media to create owls or other animals

An owl is created from triangluar shaped papers that have paint splattered on them. Two large owl eyes are drawn on and a beak.

Although this project will take a week to complete, the end result will be worth it! First, teach about artist Jackson Pollock and create splatter paintings. Then rip them into triangular shapes that will be glued to a piece of card stock to form the owl’s head. Once these steps are finished, have your students paint the eyes and beaks. Finally, put everything together.

Learn more: Mama Life Love

15. Sculpt fantastic clay birds

Drawing of a colorful bird, next to the same bird sculpted in clay with feathers added

Start by having your third grade art students dream up the bird they’d like to sculpt. Then pull out the clay and get to work!

Learn more: Art Room Blog

16. Copy Kandinsky’s squares and circles

Page divided into squares with a tree outline, with colorful circles painted in the squares (Third Grade Art Projects)

Show your third graders Kandinsky’s famous circles in squares, then have them create their own. Grab this spooky tree template at the link below.

Learn more: Arty Crafty Kids

17. Draw a portrait of Maya Angelou

A simple drawing of Maya Angelou from the shoulders up is shown. It says "Maya" across the top.

Maya Angelou once said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” Pair an ELA lesson with this art lesson and read some of Angelou’s poetry while your students color their portraits.

Learn more: Art Projects for Kids

18. Trace and color your hand

Pencil tracing of hand, with marker lines across it using arcs to create a 3D illusion (Third Grade Art Projects)

You’ll only need simple supplies for this third grade art project. Kids trace their hands, then use markers to make lines, adding small arcs to create the illusion of 3D. It seems simple, but students will really have to concentrate as they work.

Learn more: Candice Ashment Art

19. Color hands with warm and cool colors

Tracings of hands with circles behind, colored in warm and cool colors (Third Grade Art Projects)

Here’s another take on a hand-tracing project. In this one, students learn about warm and cool colors and use those contrasts to make striking pieces that feature their own hands.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Hurley

20. Explore identity with these self-portraits

A hand-drawn little girl is shown from the waist up. items are drawn around her that include an ice cream and a recycling symbol.

Teach your students about Frida Kahlo and her self-portraits and then have them create their own! Have them include at least six personal symbols.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Filmore

21. Sketch mesmerizing mandalas

Patterned mandala circles on a green background

Students use a compass to create concentric circles and patterns with radial symmetry. Then they choose markers or colored pencils to color them in.

Learn more: Art Is Basic

22. Paste together collage bugs

Winged bug made of magazine scraps with chalk legs on black paper

Collages are always a hit with kids, so we love this version where kids use paper scraps to craft colorful insects. Combine it with a science lesson to expand the learning.

Learn more: Art Projects for Kids

23. Practice lines with a fun hair-redo

Five artworks are shown. There are photos of kids with their hair cut off. In it's place, kids draw crazy hair on top of their photos using a variety of lines.

Before beginning this fun project, you will need to take a digital photo of each of your students. Once the photos have been printed, have them cut their hair off of it. Finally, practice different types of lines as your students create crazy and fun hairstyles for themselves!

Learn more: Wahoo Art Room

24. Finish the picture

Photo of three people backed by a mountain, with the larger landscape drawn in colored pencil (Third Grade Art Projects)

This is such a cool project! Provide kids with a selection of scenes cut from magazines. They choose one, then draw or paint the rest of the picture around it. They can keep it realistic or use their imagination to jazz things up.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Filmore

25. Include goals in your art

white strips separate black shapes with bright paint splatterd on them. A hand is seen writing words on the white areas.

Before painting, have your students lay painter’s tape across their canvas to create different shapes. Secondly, have them splatter paint across their page. Once dry, peel the tape off to reveal white areas in the artwork. Finally, have your students fill in the blank spaces with goals or positive attributes.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy

26. Add a cityscape to Starry Night skies

Starry night sky in pastels with black construction paper skyscrapers in front (Third Grade Art Projects)

Van Gogh’s Starry Night series is one of his most famous. In this third grade art mashup, kids paint a starry night background, then glue black construction paper skyscrapers over the top.

Learn more: Elements of the Art Room

27. Draw something out of this world

A black background has a rocketship drawn in the corner and different colored planets (third grade art projects)

This project incorporates mixed media as well as several different processes. We love how much variety there will be in your students’ finished pieces since there are a lot of opportunities in this project for individuality.

Learn more: Art Is Basic

28. Build Ton Schulten–style cityscapes

Colorful skyscrapers against a sky painted in geometric blocks

Ton Schulten paints landscapes using bright blocks of color. This is an easy concept for kids to try, and the results are vivid and joyful.

Learn more: Paintbrush Rocket

29. Design a beaded snowflake

A snowflake is shown that has been created using pipe cleaners and different blue and clear beads.

This is the perfect art project to do during those long winter months. We love that supplies are minimal since all you will need are pipe cleaners, some string, and a large assortment of beads.

Learn more: First Palette

30. Get inspired by nature

A simple marker drawing of a boy is in the center of the page and leaves and flower petals have been glued around him including to form his arms and hair.

While this project would be harder to do during the winter, some store-bought flowers could help with that. If you’re doing this project in the spring or fall, bring your students for a nature walk to collect their own found media!

Learn more: Petit and Small

31. Chalk still-life compositions like CĂ©zanne

Oil pastel still life pieces of apples and pears in the style of Cezanne

Explore the style of Paul CĂ©zanne, then have students try creating still lifes of their own. Use oil pastels to create the look of visible brushstrokes.

Learn more: Young Art Love

32. Color birch trees and add cardinals

Birch tree branches surrounded by colorful marker lines, accented with a red cardinal

Get step-by-step instructions at the link to help your third grade art students make this fun pop art birch tree scene. Cut out and add the red cardinals last.

Learn more: The Lost Sock

33. Cut and curve colorful lines

Marker lines cut out into strips, then pasted into curves

First color a series of thick and thin marker lines. Then cut them into strips and create colorful curves.

Learn more: Amazing Art Adventures

34. Fill in hexagon honeycombs

Yellow and brown honeycomb made from interconnected hexagons, with paper bees on top

Use a hexagon template to draw the honeycomb, then shade it in with oil pastels. Cut out and add some bees on top to finish it off.

Learn more: Elements of the Art Room

35. Put together Matisse collages

Collage of colorful curved shapes (Third Grade Art Projects)

First, color squares of paper with tempera paint. Then, cut out free-flowing organic shapes and paste them together into a collage, just like Henri Matisse did.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Fillmore

36. Mold sweet ceramic flowers

Simple ceramic flower bowls with bugs and butterflies (Third Grade Art Projects)

Kids love getting their hands on some clay. These pretty flowers are accented with frogs, butterflies, and bugs for a special touch.

Learn more: Cassie Stephens/Ceramic Flowers

37. Draw symmetrical patterns

Symmetrical pattern colored in contrasting warm and cool colors

Have students draw symmetrical patterns, then fill each half with contrasting cool and warm tones.

Learn more: ArtMuse67

38. Tuck textured tigers into a forest collage

Textured painted tiger among construction paper leaves and flowers

Start by having students create textured prints in orange paint. Turn those into tigers, then surround them with paper leaves and flowers in a forest of the night, inspired by Henri Rousseau’s well-known Tiger in a Tropical Storm.

Learn more: Elements of the Art Room

39. Discover tints and shades with ice cream

Painted ice cream cones with each scoop a different shade of a single color (Third Grade Art Projects)

Artists make tints by mixing colors with white and shades by mixing colors with black. Try out some paint mixing with your third grade art students by creating these yummy ice cream cones.

Learn more: Art. Eat. Tie Dye. Repeat.

40. Snack on papier-mâché ice cream cones

Three third grade art students pretending to eat paper mache ice cream cones

Speaking of ice cream, how adorable are these papier-mâché triple-scoop cones? Kids will really have a blast putting these together.

Learn more: There’s a Dragon in My Art Room

41. Fold pop-up Van Gogh chairs

Open card with pop up chair in the style of Van Gogh (Third Grade Art Projects)

Take a look at Vincent van Gogh’s chair paintings, then challenge students to create pop-up chairs that reflect their own personalities.

Learn more: Mrs. O’Connell’s Art Room

42. Pose paper chickens

Papier-mache chicken adorned with paper strips

Add folded paper strips to a papier-mâché chicken, stand it tall on its skinny legs, and admire your creation!

Learn more: What’s Happening in the Art Room?

43. Transfer sugar skulls to foil

Colorful Mexican sugar skull imprinted on aluminum foil (Third Grade Art Projects)

Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead with colorful sugar skulls. Re-create them with super-cool texture and shine with this fun aluminum foil project.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Filmore

44. Paint some Jim Dine–inspired hearts

A black outline of a heart is in the center of the page and it is surrounded by and filled in with bright specks of paint.

Students often learn about Andy Warhol in school, but why not teach them about other pop artists like Jim Dine? Inspired by his painting The Confetti Heart, this project would make for a nice Valentine’s Day gift!

Learn more: Woo! Jr. Kids Activities

45. Paint folk art–inspired trees

A white piece of paper has the outline of several different style trees in black. Paintings with trees colored using watercolor are shown in the background (third grade art projects)

This project packs a big punch since it teaches about line, pattern, shape, and painting technique. We especially love that it can be completed in a single class.

Learn more: Deep Space Sparkle

46. Collage like Picasso

The left image shows a face that has been assembled from different shapes and colored paper for features. The right side shows a child working on their collage (third grade art projects)

First, introduce your students to Pablo Picasso and some of his more famous works including the painting Weeping Woman. Then, encourage them to use different shapes and colors to create a self-portrait collage.

Learn more: Artful Parent

Inspire their imaginations further with these 50 Creative Third Grade Writing Prompts.

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Teach your third grade art students about famous artists and help them develop their creative skills with these clever projects.