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Kindergarten Art: Experimenting With Pastels

kindergarten art project - simple, just let them experiment with chalk pastels! the kids loved this

Every week, I work with my son’s kindergarten class to do an art project. In the past three weeks, I’ve done more structured projects (line art spider webs, primary colored playgrounds, and secondary color mixing pumpkin paintings), but this week, I was a little less prepared. Instead of doing a principle of art, we just focused on playing with a new medium: chalk pastels! This lesson was all about playing with pastels, and the kids LOVED it.

I wasn’t sure about having such an unstructured “art project,” but it turns out the kids had a great time because they were exposed to a new supply that most of them had never tried, and because the rest of their day is highly structured, so it was nice for them to have fun just letting go and having fun with art. Also, chalk pastels are inexpensive — you can get a small box for about $5, or a larger box for just a few dollars more. I just let the kids use two colors at a time from a box of 36, and it worked out fine. You can get a budget box at Michaels for about $5, or shop for chalk pastels on Amazon.

Kindergarten art: experimenting with chalk pastels - fun, and only slightly messy

Supplies Needed:

  • Black card stock
  • Chalk pastels
  • Baby wipes (optional)
  • Clear fixative spray (recommended) – will keep the chalk from smudging after they are done drawing

Learning about Pastels with Kindergarteners

First, I introduced the kids to pastels. They’re “like chalk, but even more colorful.” If you want, you could explain what a “medium” is — a different kind of material used to make art. Other mediums are: crayons, markers, paint, torn paper, etc.

I also told them that they could use their fingers to smudge their drawings to get some special effects.

Kindergarten art: experimenting with chalk pastels - the kids had so much fun

We started out with black paper, and each kid got 2 chalk pastels from the box. They had been talking about fruits and vegetables when I came into the classroom, so I suggested they draw a fruit or veggie, but soon they were drawing all kinds of other things.

We had baby wipes to wipe hands, but before long each kid was using the baby wipe as an “eraser” and the paper as a blackboard. This was great for experimentation, but I had to act quickly to get photos of their gorgeous drawings before they erased them and started over.

Kindergarten art project: playing with chalk pastels

These experimental drawings are gorgeous on their own (the black background is awesome!) but you could use them as backdrops for other art projects like a collage or the background of a self-portrait.

Once the kids are done with their drawings, collect them, and then spray them with a clear fixative spray (or aerosol hair spray). This will keep the chalk from rubbing off and smudging.

Kindergarten art: experimenting with a new medium: chalk pastels!

This kept the kids busy and happy for about 45 minutes, and they got to play with a new material. Even though it was relatively unstructured, this project was definitely a success! I plan on using chalk pastels for more future projects, including one of my favorite projects I did as a kid — torn paper landscapes. Stay tuned! Next week, we learn about Portraits!

I have a giant Pinterest board where I’ve been collecting children’s art lesson ideas, so go ahead and check it out if you like kids’ art ideas.

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