This is the second artist we’ve explored, you can find our first post on Kandinsky here. This post will give you ideas for exploring the work of Van Gogh with children. Again, just like the Kandinsky post there will be activities for little ones right through to teens.
Firstly, explore different Van Gogh images together – we’re going to look at Sunflowers and Starry Night mainly. Art a children’s encyclopaedia I’ve found to be a great book that will last us years. Below is one of the inside spreads from the book – you can find more inside images here.
We look at the images together and I pick out little facts to read alongside, but it would be brilliant for older children to explore independently too.
There’s a pack of Famous Paintings flash cards from Usborne that would be perfect for exploring different artists too. Although, I do find that there is under representation of women and people of colour in many art books and resources. In 2023 I’ll be sharing more diverse artists with you.
The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel
I am really pleased to see Waterstones Non-fiction book of the year for 2022 is The Story of Art Without Men. It’s on my wish list and very much looking forward to read. Books such as this we would share together with me reading out little bits or paraphrasing a little.
Next have a look at The Tate Gallery they have some great links for Van Gogh – the who he is I’m going to paraphrase a little for my young audience. This one you can print off to put up your own portrait masterpiece. For older children there’s a quiz. The Tate Gallery online have lots of great resources for different artists.
Van Gogh Activity Ideas for Kids
Using scissors involves complex skills and it’s a great fine motor activity that children love. Cut out a circle of yellow paper or colour in a white piece yellow. Get your child to make snips into the circle from the edge to form a flower. We love the Maped scissors for little ones as they cut paper, but not hair! They’re really good with playdough too.
Use any bits and bobs you’ve got at home to make a sunflower collage. You could use tissue paper, crepe, fabric. You could use clothes too for a collage you can pack away after. If you’d like to make a sunflower collage like the one below here is the blog post on what we did and our template.
Van Gogh Paint Exploration
Art gets messy, finger paints are wonderful to let even very young children explore their interpretation of the world around them. The paints we use have scents in them too for a fully immersive experience. If you really can’t cope with the mess then you can put paints into a zip bag and let your little one explore that way.
For older children get them to use a fork or another tool to make a Sunflower or Starry Night scene.
Van Gogh Inspired Sunflowers
Sponges are great for young children too. Paint on different materials such as tinfoil for a Starry Night difference.
We use clips on hooks so we can change around our ‘home gallery’ any time we like. It also means my daughter chooses what she would like to display.
Van Gogh Magic Painting
Using a white wax crayon draw a picture – we chose Starry Night by Van Gogh. Then using watercolours see if they can find the hidden picture.
You could use this idea to write secret messages too – always oodles of fun for slightly older children.
Acrylic Painting Starry Night
Children of any age could produce their own Starry Night painting. The one below is one I did when I first experimented with acrylic paints again after having not used them since school.
My daughter Floss and I often paint together both working on our own pieces. If painting doesn’t fill you with joy as you worry about the mess head to this blog post with my tips of stress free painting with kids.
If you’re new to acrylic painting then this blog post will tell you the basic essentials you need to get you started.
The great thing about art projects is that they often give rise to so many other learning opportunities. While exploring Sunflowers, plant sunflower seeds and make a flower diary to track the progress.
Growing and exploring nature are such fun topics for children. Here’s a blog post on mark making and ways to incorporate this important skill in nature projects.
We’re huge fans of Becca from Fiddlesticks Education and her beautiful watercolour resources to learn about different topics – you can find her Sunflower set here (BUSYBUSYLEARNING discount code).
Starry Night would be a lovely way into exploring the night sky in Exploring Nature with Children.
Don’t forget to check out the Kandinsky post here.