Kindergarten Birds

These kindergarten bird paintings are guaranteed to make you smile! I was completely charmed by these when my students did them last week, so I wanted to share a few, along with some tips for getting great results….

I began by sharing a special “artist secret” with my students…. that “artists use shapes to help them draw things”! Next, I read them the story of Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh. Then, I chose objects around the room and asked them what shape(s) an artist might use to draw that object. (ex. “If an artist wanted to draw our clock, what shape might he or she start with? The students answer, “A circle!”) Once they have the idea of looking for shapes in the objects around them, I show them how to draw a bird using shapes, and then paint it with watercolor….

1. Using a black crayon or oil pastel, draw a large half circle in the middle of your paper for your bird’s body. (Press hard, so your drawing will show through the watercolor later on!)
2. Now draw a smaller (but not too small!) half circle on top of that for your bird’s head.
3. Add a triangle for the beak and a very small circle, or a dot, for the eye.
4. Draw two straight lines down from the bird’s body for it’s legs, with an upside down “V” at the bottom for feet.
5. For the wings and tail, make something like a heart shape, only with three bumps instead of two. (I wasn’t sure if they would get that concept but they actually did!)
6. Now, draw a nest, or a branch for your bird to stand on.
7. Finally, paint your picture using watercolors. Make sure you use enough water, so your paint looks transparent (you’ll need to explain what that means!). Use any color except for black…. the contrast of the colorful paint against the black line drawing is what makes these paintings “pop”!

Another key to success with this project is encouraging students to paint their whole paper, and not leave any white paper showing. They won’t do this naturally, you have to coax them! I tell them we’re going to play a game called, “Hide the Paper” (special thanks to fellow art teacher Jane Brown for that amazing tip!)…. when you make a game of it, they all rise to the challenge!!

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9 Responses to Kindergarten Birds

  1. erica September 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    those are SO cute!! they definitely made me smile :)

  2. LauraHubb September 28, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    What great ideas on your site! I am going rush to school to try these with my kiddos!

  3. Lori Decoite September 29, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    These look great!! I will be trying these! thanks for sharing :)

  4. SMMART ideas September 30, 2009 at 1:00 am #

    Love your site…
    Pick up your Kreativ Blogger Award at my learning activity site:

  5. Melissa Stewart October 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    TOO CUTE!! I hope to see these soon at Kids Kreations! Can't wait to see how these turn out on our new products!

  6. TeachKidsArt October 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Oh, I know!! The parents are going to eat these up!!! :)

  7. Cindy Lee Jones October 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    Absolutely delightful… They all look so cute together.

  8. Nancy Scoble, Washington, NC September 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Our students came to school during spirit week in their pajamas.
    I mentioned to the 1-3 graders I had never seen students at school in their sleep clothes.
    Next thing you know I spotted a BIRD IN PAJAMAS out the window.

    “Did you see it?” I inquired. You can guess what type of work we had in the process. Feathers were available for additional detail.

  9. Nancy Scoble, Washington, NC September 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    I also detail the white board with beak profiles of every bird I can think of. A Toucan is much different than a Cardinal. Science project……? Dissussion follows… Just WHAT does a Pelican eat? or a Cardinal or a Toucan? What is the purpose of the beak?