7 Easy and Fun Art Projects for Kids Aged 7+

With the summer holidays fast approaching you might be feeling apprehensive about keeping the kids occupied all the time. I know I am! Especially on rainy days and days your purse is empty, or you can’t bear to watch the latest film at the cinema’s ‘Kiddie Klub’ for the gazillionth time.

Here are 7 different art projects – one for each day of the week (!) – that are all easy to do with your kids and lots of fun. They don’t require a huge amount of expense and, as long as you cover up the table and your kids, you shouldn’t need to spend a huge amount of time cleaning up afterwards either.

If it’s a nice day, why not get them painting outside?

All of these projects have been tried and tested on a range of children aged from 7 to 13 on my summer art camps.

1. Autumn Trees

Print | Mixed Media | Charcoal techniques

I loved doing this project with the children as it combined a nature study with an art project and I think the results are beautiful. First we went for a little walk to look at trees and then we collected a sample of different shaped leaves. We talked about observing how trunks and branches connect. We also briefly discussed shading with charcoal.

The images work well because of the contrasts of media, the use of bright colours and black, and the use of white space to offset the busier areas.

You will need:

  • A3 paper (I used an A3 sketch pad and tore out individual pages)
  • Sticks of drawing charcoal
  • Spray fixative ( I use ordinary hairspray)
  • Poster or acrylic paint in 3 to 5 different shades, either premixed or mix a few colours yourself
  • Clean paint brushes for each colour of paint
  • Selection of different leaves sourced from nature
  • Kitchen paper towel for pressing onto the leaves
  • A damp cloth for wiping mucky hands

Method:

Start by drawing a row of tall trees, shade the trunks being careful not to smudge all over the page – if the child is right handed, get them to start drawing from the left side of the page and work across. Charcoal can be messy but it’s easy to rub out with a standard eraser if the page becomes too blotchy.

Once the trees are drawn, spray the picture with fixative to prevent smudging. (Always spray in a well ventilated area or outside).

Choose the leaves you’d like to use and paint one with a shade of paint on the textured side of the leaf (usually the underneath). Do a practice print first on a blank piece of paper to check how much paint comes off the leaf. (You may want to place a piece of paper towel on top of the leaf and press it down gently, this will help stop colours from running or smearing).

Print a range of different leaves and colours until your forest is complete!

2. Aboriginal Patterns

cirlcles of tiny brightly coloured dots

Print making | Pattern | Exploring cultures

This picture is is a simple and bright design and the results are extremely visually appealing. This project works well with children who are a little older as it requires patience and a certain level of manual dexterity. We started by looking at samples of Aboriginal art for inspiration but you woudn’t need to do that to create this image.

The contrast of white dots as well as the bright colours on a black background is what makes this image works well. Also because it is repetative and each dot is the same size. It teaches about pattern as well as contrast.

You will need:

  • Black A3 or A4 paper
  • Poster or acrylic paint in an array of different shades
  • A damp cloth for wiping fingers between each colour application

Method:

Place different shades of paint into shallow pots that are easy for a little finger to dip into.

Using the same finger every time start by create one large dotty circular shape in the centre of the page (the red on in this case). When the circle is complete, wipe the finger and select another colour. Create a concentric circle inside the first one. Repeat until the shape is full, don’t worry if the ‘circle’ ends up morphing ino another shape altogether!

Now fill up the rest of the page until all the paper is full of circular and semi circular shapes.

3. Blossom Tree

painted tree with blossoms

Print making

Here’s another tree and more finger printing! This one takes a little time as the page needs to be workd in layers and dried in between each layer.

It works well as the blossoms are three different shades of the same colour. The tree standing on a hill lends an unusual perspective too.

You will need:

  • White A3 or A4 paper
  • Poster paints

Method:

Start by painting a green hill and the blue sky. Allow to dry.

Now paint a single tree with many branches.

Mix three different shades of pink into separate little tubs. Using one colour at a time, dot little blossoms all over the tree. Using different finger sizes for different shades creates a more natural flowery effect.

4. Splat Monsters

Mixed Media | Interactive

This is a fun project because the outcome is completely unpredictable! Using straws, the paint is blown on the page and ends up running in random directions.

These work well as two colours are combined to add interest to the bodies of the monters and each monster is given a unique personality with different features.

You will need:

  • Thick A4 paper
  • Poster or acrylic paint
  • Straws
  • Black fineliner or permanent marker

Method:

Fill pots with different shades of paint and mix with a little water to make it runny. Pour a blob of paint onto the paper and then pour another colour right next to it. The two colours will start to bleed into one another.

Hold a straw above the paint and blow hard, it will spread in all sorts of directions!

Allow to dry completely and then draw on features using a black pen.

5. Pastel Parrot

Chalk Pastels | Charcoal

This picture is ideal as a lovely big and bright poster in your home!

Depending on the age of your child you may need to help draw the basic outline of the parrot.

This image is effective as the parrot fills the paper, the colours are not muddied even though they are blended and it has a bold yet sensitively drawn outline.

You will need:

  • White A3 paper
  • A pencil
  • Chalk Pastels
  • Tissue or kitchen paper towel
  • Charcoal Sticks
  • Spray fixative ( I use ordinary hairspray)

Method:

Using the pencil, draw an outline of a parrot on a branch using large geometic shapes, trying to fill the page as much as possible.

Fill in different parts of the parrot with different shades of chalk pastel, leaving the patch around his eye white. Colour the background too.

Using tissue, blend adjacent areas into one another. Use a clean tissue for different colours to prevent them from becoming muddy from contamination.

Draw an outline with charcoal and then seal with spray fixative. (Always spray in a well ventilated area or outside).

6. Under the Sea

Mixed Media | Water colours | Wax crayon | Oil pastels

Watching how one medium affects another can be fascinating and in this project, the combination of water colours and old pastels or wax crayons creates some fun and interesting effects.

These images work well as the background has texture and the fish are big and bold.

You will need:

  • Thick A3 or A4 paper (it needs to be thick as you are working with water colours)
  • Wax crayons or oil pastels
  • Water colour
  • Black permanent marker

Method:

Using a pencil, draw one or two large fish on the paper. Colour the fish with wax crayon or oil pastels (chalk pastels will NOT work!). Add some greenery around the edges of the page and maybe some bubbles or a shoal of smaller fish.

Mix a good quantity watery blue paint and using a large brush and quick strokes, fill the rest of the page. Using different quantities of paint in different areas creates different shades of blue and gives the background that watery feeling.

You can paint right over the fish too if you don’t want to keep any white areas, the water colour will simply run off the waxy/oily fish coloured in underneath.

When the paint has dried, outline them in black permanent marker.

7. Scribble Self Portrait

Self expression | Oil pastels

I have to confess, this was one of my favourite projects to do with the children. They love creating them as they are encouraged to be as free and wild as they like with the colour. They ususally end up having a good laugh with each other over the results.

This works well as a warm up exercise before a more serious project that needs lots of time and attention. This image is effective as it fills the paper, it incorporates strokes in various directions and the colours are kept clean and distinct.

You will need:

  • A3 paper
  • Oil pastels

Method:

Tell the children they need to draw their own face as big as possible on the page, it can be as messy as they like and they can get the colours all WRONG! The love that this is the opposite to colouring in, there are few rules and they can just have fun!

The only thing you need to watch for is that the colours don’t get too muddy with smudging or over colouring.

Looking for more? Next week I’ll be sharing these seven ideas below so stick around to find out how to make them too!

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