In this extract from my new book Nurture Art we’re looking at how to find inspiration for art projects, with ideas for art projects you can try with your children throughout the year, seasonal art projects, art ideas inspired by nature, and suggestions for ways to integrate art across the school curriculum. There’s a free printable poster with a month of art prompts too.
How to find inspiration for art projects
The materials are gathered and you have a few hours set aside, but how can you find inspiration for art projects? For ideas to get you started you might decide to try art projects that are:
:: seasonal – using natural materials or based on the colors of the time of year
:: child-led – based on any idea your child might suggest, or using a material they are especially interested in, or in response to a question or imagining they have talked about
:: inspired by a book – to try out the techniques used by the illustrator of your favorite story book
:: inspired by a famous painting – take a look at my Great Artists series of resources
:: inspired by a new material – new pens, paint, glitter, or tape always spark an idea with my girls
:: inspired by a new technique – my Art Spark book is a go-to source of ideas for all kinds of process art
:: You could print out the Art Spark idea cards and keep them in your room to browse through. See which of the photographs catch your eye, and then give that technique a try
:: set up a nature table and gather natural materials from your garden or on nature walks to give you a changing source of materials to use for inspiration, or as art materials, throughout the year
:: collect postcards of famous art and have them on display, or in ‘look books’ which you can flip through
:: watch an artists’ video on YouTube. Seeing someone else create art can make you want to try it out
:: visit a gallery or an art show for new ideas
:: come back to an earlier piece of your art and add to it, using different materials, colors or a new technique over your existing work
:: join an art challenge on Instagram. These typically have a daily prompt for a new sketch or art idea. Or use the month-of-art prompts which you can find at the end of this book.
:: include art with all your learning, across the curriculum, using the subject you are studying as inspiration for your creations
In science you might try a watercolor study of the flowers you are learning about in biology.
In history you might draw out a map of the Celtic village you are studying.
In literacy you might sketch along to the story you are reading.
In math try creating Islamic-inspired patterns from cut-out colored paper, to accompany your study of symmetry and tessellation.
Download the Art Spark Resources
The Art Spark resources bring you 30 art projects that make it easy for you to explore creative techniques with your children and give them benefits of process art . There are lots of ideas that are very easy to set up, so whenever you want to do some art you’re all ready to go.
The projects including watercolours, mono printing, marbling, scrape painting, drip painting, frozen art, scratch art, printing techniques, yarn art, and ideas to explore shape, color, gravity and movement.
Also included are links to famous artists, well-known works, and art around the world, so you can go deeper into arts education including: Henri Matisse; Rex Ray; Pablo Picasso; Janet Sobel; Georgia O’Keefe; Paul Cezanne; Yves Klein; Guiseppe Arcimboldo; Jackson Pollock; Cy Twombly; Alberto Giacometti; Harry Bartoia; Lescaux, Altamira, and Ubirr cave and rock paintings; Japanese suminagashi; and Mexican Huichol art.
How to use this month of art prompts poster
Here’s a free printable poster with a month of art prompts that you can use:
:: to go in your art journal to give you a drawing prompt when you’re stuck for inspiration
:: as a poster to put on display in your art studio, classroom, kitchen or playroom, perhaps for rainy days, when children finish another activity early or they’re waiting for dinner to be served!
:: as a program of quick art invitations to work through with your children
:: as a hand-out to give to the children you work with, to encourage them to keep drawing, sketching and painting after class or through the school holidays
How to get our free printables
To download my free printables, you'll need to visit the NurtureStore Printables Library, which is available to all subscribers to my email list, and of course to Play Academy members.
Pop your email address in the form below and you’ll get access to all my free printables, lesson plans, activity ideas, weekly newsletter, and a whole lot more!
After subscribing, be sure to check for the confirmation email. After you confirm your email subscription, we'll send you a welcome email which includes instructions for downloading our free printables.
If you're already subscribed to our email newsletter: check your email for the latest edition of the newsletter where you’ll find a link to access our free printables library - the link is usually at the bottom of the email.
For help accessing our printables, click here.