Art History for Kids
The introduction of art history for kids will motivate them to explore art materials and experiment with different ways of making pictures.
Displaying art history samples that focus on color, shape, texture, and line will encourage children to express themselves creatively.
Remember that with kids, it's all about the process of making pictures not the finished product.
Make art history part of children's every day experiences...
As young children are introduced to images, such as the painting on the right by Emily Carr, and have opportunities to experiment with different materials and techniques that the artists used, they will increase their art vocabulary and their understanding about their world.
Teaching art history to young kids...
- Post works by one artist or images that show one style of art on a small bulletin board designated to art history (use images from old calendars).
- Give children a few days to look at the images and ask questions.
I posted weekly images where the children could see them as they ate their snacks. See bulletin board sample on right.
- Paper clip an index card with a few child friendly facts about the artist to the images (See image below)
- The children notice different aspects of the pictures as the week progresses, comment on the pictures and ask questions.
- Keep art history for kids simple and only introduce small bits of information at a time
- Relate the images to the children's world, such as teaching Kandisky during a geometry unit. "What kinds of shapes did Kadinsky use to make his picture?"
Three methods to broaden your students 'awareness of art history:
1.Teach art history for kids by topic...
- Post one style of art per term, such as Abstract, on a bulletin board.
- Old calendars are a cheap source of pictures (ask parents to save them for you), then introduce artists that painted in that style.
- Read books such as, What's the Big Idea?: Activities and Adventures in Abstract Art (Art Explorers)
- Books like the one above not only introduce the children to a style of art but supply art lessons based on individual artists, in this case, Picasso, Matisse, Leger, O'Keefe, Calder and Gorky that are easily adaptable to various age groups.
- Take it slow and focus on one artist a week
- Joyce Raimondo has a seriesof books like the one above (Pop Art, Expressionism, Surrealism. Summaries of artists are included.
2. Teach by geographical area...
Pick a country and introduce the art history of that country. Keep it simple for little kids.
- For example, choose a country like Egypt and show the children pictures of pyramid paintings
- Discuss how the pictures show us how the people lived and worked a long time ago.
- Follow up with colored chalk on construction paper or just drawings having each child show something about their life now.
- Display on a bulletin board with captions that explain each child's drawing.
- Display a sample picture or a photocopy of the work they are studying.
3. Teach art history by material or technique...
Teach art history for kids by materials or technique, clay, for example...
- Introduce pictures of work by artists who used the materials
- Take children on field trips to art galleries to see work done in a specific material
- Read books about artists who worked with the materials, such as Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave before giving children clay to work with.