Ralph Waldo Emerson 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. Here are some of our favorite third grade art projects, featuring well-known artists and a wide variety of media, from paint and pastels to clay and collages. There’s so much here to inspire young artists!

1. Bloom 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. 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

4. 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

5. Add cotton steam to 3-D 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. Fillmore

6. 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 watercolor, using different shades to add depth.

Learn more: Color It Like You Mean It

7. Weave two paintings together

Two similar paintings of an autumn leaf cut into strips and woven together (Third Grade Art Projects)

“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

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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

11. 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 3-D. It seems simple, but students will really have to concentrate as they work.

Learn more: Candice Ashment Art

12. 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 featuring their own hands.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Hurley

13. Sketch mesmerizing mandalas

Patterned mandala circles on a green background

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

Learn more: Art Is Basic

14. 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

15. 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. Fillmore

16. 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 overtop.

Learn more: Elements of the Art Room

17. Build Ton Shulten-style cityscapes

Colorful skyscrapers against a sky painted in geometric blocks

Ton Shulten 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

18. Chalk still life compositions like Cezanne

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

Explore the style of Cezanne, then try creating still lifes of your own. Use oil pastels to create the look of visible brushstrokes.

Learn more: Young Art Love

19. 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

20. 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

21. 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

22. 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 Matisse did.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Fillmore

23. 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

24. 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

25. 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 Rousseau’s well-known Tiger in a Tropical Storm.

Learn more: Elements of the Art Room

26. 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.

27. 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

28. 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 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

29. Pose paper chickens

Papier-mache chicken adorned with paper strips

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

Learn more: What’s Happening In The Art Room

30. 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. Recreate them with super cool texture and shine with this fun aluminum foil project.

Learn more: Art With Mrs. Fillmore

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

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

30 Fantastic Third Grade Art Projects That Teach And Inspire