3 easy art lessons for kids for the 4th of July
As an art teacher and designer, I am always trying to come up with new and fun ideas for lessons for my kids. Since I also teach families, I try to come up with lessons that both kids and adults will enjoy too. Last weekend we had a lot of fun doing 4th of July art and designs - American flags and fireworks that we did in both oil pastels, watercolor and mixed media.
Below are 3 easy lessons that you can do with your kids for any patriotic holiday, including Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. These would also be great lessons for the Presidents Holidays - Lincoln's and Washington's Birthdays. Below are step by step instructions on how to make beautiful art for your holiday fun.
First Art Lesson: Oil pastel fireworks on black paper
This is the easiest way to make fireworks that I have done. To do this beautiful firework art you will only need a few things:
- Black or dark blue construction paper
- Oil pastels
- Glue stick or Elmer's glue (optional)
- Sparkles or glitter from the Dollar Store (optional)
The black paper will serve as the sky so there will be no need to paint in this lesson. The main thing is showing the kids how to "build" their fireworks. Since fireworks explode from the middle out, make sure they focus on starting from the middle and working their way out. Have them choose a bright color for the middle from their oil pastels. Then:
- Make a small burst with the first color anywhere on the paper. The rings should not be perfect, in fact, the circle should look ragged looking.
- Choose a second bright color and color another ring around the first
- Repeat with a third color (they could use multiple colors and make multiple rings - the possibilities are endless here)
- Then have them use their finger to smudge from the inside burst out to shade the color rings together. Remind them they are working from the middle out. As each color becomes blended a nice blended burst will begin to emerge.
- After their blending, have them add curling and swerving lines out from the middle of their burst. The swirly lines go past the burst and should look like fireworks shooting out. They can choose whatever colors they like for this. Don't be surprised at how wild looking the fireworks may get!
- At the end have them stipple dots at the ends of the lines and also throughout their paper. These will be the little end parts of the fireworks that trail off the main ones.
- They are done! If you want too, you can also use glue sticks and have them retrace some of their curly lines going out, then add glitter and sparkles to their fireworks! Beautiful!
Oil pastel fireworks on black construction paper
After watercolor is added
Fourth of July oil pastel and watercolor fireworks art
This second Fourth of July or patriotic fireworks artwork is done the same way as the first except you will create your fireworks on white paper instead. After you have completed your design, use watercolor to paint the background. We used a combination of dark blue and black for our sky and you can paint right over the oil pastel.
Because water does not stick to oil, the watercolor will bubble above the oil and "resist" the design. This is OK, this is the effect you want. If you want to leave some white spaces in your design, just don't paint them. Make sure your watercolor is watered down a lot or it may get too dark on the paper and on the oil pastel fireworks. Let dry and then you can add glitter or sparkles like the first lesson (optional)
Mixed media fireworks art and designs
Paint an American flag for Fourth of July
The last art lesson I taught to the class was a painting of the American flag and they had the option to add fireworks or just paint the flag. I like doing the flagpole with the flag because I think it looks better - and if you want, you can do the fireworks in different colors in oil pastel, or you can paint them in red,white and blue. You can also add sparkles to your fireworks or like one person did, put them on your flagpole. If you have any gold paint it would also be nice to paint the ball at the top of the pole gold.
The American flag has 50 white stars on a blue background, and 13 stripes (red and white) The red stripes start at the top. If the flag is small and it's too hard to draw all the stars, then use the back of your brush or white pastel to make 50 dots where the stars should be. Just dip your round brush end into the paint and it will make a perfect dot.
These American flags were done various ways, some were painted in acrylic paint, but you could also use oil pastels, watercolor, or tempera paint and make it a mixed media art lesson. Various ways the students did them are pictured below.
Paintings of American Flags
Lots of fireworks!
Poll about this art lesson
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on July 02, 2016:
Am sharing. Some of my relations will probably like this.
Andrew from Rep Boston MA on July 03, 2015:
Great Article! Made me feel like a patriotic kid again! Sometimes I forget how meaningful small things are like creating custom decorations for holidays.
Keep writing fun articles!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 09, 2014:
@Ann1Az2) Thanks Ann, glad you enjoyed it.
Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on February 09, 2014:
Sounds like a fun project and it looks like the kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed the photos - thanks for sharing ideas!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on July 03, 2013:
@rebeccamealey) Thanks rebecca. I love that look too!
@ torrilynn) Thank you torri.
@rebekahELLE) Enjoy my friend, these were a lot of fun and so creative!
rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on June 29, 2013:
Love this Dorsi. It's simple enough for the preschool set. I love working with oil pastels, and the kids love the wow factor that the colors give. We'll give these a test run this week.
torrilynn on June 29, 2013:
@Dorsi really nice hub you have here just in time for the fourth of July. Voted up.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 29, 2013:
These are simply amazing Independence Day art projects. The flag art has an antique look that I love. The fire works look like fun. The kids will love these!
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on June 29, 2013:
@Glimmer) Thanks and have fun. Thanks for pinning it too!
Claudia Mitchell on June 29, 2013:
Gorgeous hub. Gonna show my daughter. We both love to draw. Pinned.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on June 28, 2013:
@RTalloni ) YW and thanks for coming by. Let me know if you try the craft - it's really fun!
RTalloni on June 28, 2013:
Delightful! Pinning to my patriotic holidays board and sharing. Thanks for putting these project ideas together and posting them with neat examples.