Easy Fall Art Projects for Elementary School

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easy fall art projects for elementary school first grader painting leaves on a birch tree

According to superstition, catching leaves in autumn brings good luck. Every leaf means a lucky month for the next year. It’s no wonder we consider magical, color-changing leaves a central part of fall art projects.

I was trying to think of fun fall art projects for lower elementary students. My daughter had pulled out some paper straws I had leftover from a birthday party and voila—an idea was born. Read on for one of the easiest fall art projects I’ve ever created for Kindergarten or First Grade.

Motivation for Fall Art Projects

I will probably say this in every lesson that I use a book for the lesson motivation, but reading to children is so important. There are numerous reasons why. For example,

“Reading aloud lets children use their imaginations to explore people, places, times and events beyond their own experiences,” according to RIF.

This is especially important in areas that are low socioeconomic or culturally secluded rural or particular urban segments. In a world of standardized testing, some children may be at an inequitable disadvantage when it comes to essay writing from experience. 

I recall one year when I was teaching at a school with a population of 95% free and reduced lunch that the state standardized test had the students write about an experience with a camel. Many of these children hadn’t left their neighborhood let alone gone to a zoo or circus. And unless they were exposed to the topic of camels in school it was very unlikely they would be exposed to it at home.

So, my point is that we as educators have this amazing opportunity, if not the responsibility, to introduce a world of topics, ideas, and experiences to our students. I encourage you to read to your students as motivation for your lessons often.

Here are a few of the many books you could choose for fall art projects.

Materials for These Easy Fall Art Projects

As I said we had a bag of leftover paper straws. They happened to be Birch Tree Biodegradeable Straws. My daughter had found them in a drawer and glued them to a piece of paper. 

It hit me, duh, why didn’t I think of that.

The birch tree straws would make perfect tree trunks. I’m sure you’ve seen people create birch trees by scraping cardboard or matboard with black paint across the paper. However, using the straws is a great way to help your students have easy success which builds their confidence (especially for lower elementary students). 

The materials you will need to complete this project are:

Birch Tree Biodegradable Straws

90lb. Drawing Paper or Watercolor Paper cut to 6″ x 7.5″

Watercolor Paint

Yellow Tempera Paint

Red Tempera Paint

Paint Brushes

Paper Towel

Water Bowls

Elmer’s Liquid Glue

Fall Art Project Directions

1) Painting the Background

Using clean water wet the entire sheet of white drawing paper. Create a wash using a blue that is darker at the top then gradates to a lighter value as it goes down. Paint a wash of brown at the bottom to give the suggestion of ground or dying grass.

watercolor art project using wet on wet for elementary school

2) Create Clouds

Use a crumpled paper towel to lift the pigment from the background to lighten the blue and create the illusion of clouds. Just a few. You will still want to have blue space.

Painting art lesson for elementary school

3) Glue the Straws

Each child will use 3 straws to create their trees. It is best to place the glue on the tree/straw vs. asking a child to glue a straight line on her paper. Try to not tilt your straw too much so it reaches the top of the paper.

birch tree art project for fall using Elmer's liquid glue
easy fall art projects on the artsyfartzy experience

4) Paint the Leaves

Give each student yellow and red paint on a tray. Using a flat brush stipple yellow paint at the top of the trees starting at the tree trunk and spreading out horizontally. 

Demonstrate to the students how to mix orange using very little red so it is a yellow-orange. Stipple using the orange and then follow using the red. Be sure that you tell your students to not cover all of the yellow or orange as they go.

student stippling leaves for fall art lesson for elementary school art teachers
easy fall art projects for elementary school first grader painting leaves on a birch tree

This Fall Tree Art Project is Easy

This lesson encompasses watercolor techniques, painting skills, color theory, and manipulation of glue. It really is a wonderful little lesson that can be completed in one class. The student that completed the examples used for this post is a first-grader, but I think you could totally do this with kindy students.

If you like this lesson for your Kindergarten class you may enjoy this Kindergarten Self-portrait Lesson.

easy fall art projects for kindergarten
fall tree art project for first grade

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