Elementary Programs Chapter

Art Goes Wild

Books to Share

  • Anna’s Art Adventure by Bjorn Sortland.
  • Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbey by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker.
  • Luke’s Way of Looking by Nadia Wheatley.
  • Painting the Wind by Patricia MacLachlan.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Charlotte in Giverny by Joan Knight.
  • Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.
  • Chuck Close Up Close by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.
  • Great Googlestein Museum Mystery by Jean Van Leeuwen.
  • Lives of the Artists by Kathleen Krull.


Wild and Wonderful Art

Create a display of many types of art materials, such as tubes of paint, paintbrushes, chunks of clay, colored pencils, etc. Include books about art and famous artists.


Cut large sheets of construction paper into shapes that look like splatters of paint and tape them to the walls. Hang mobiles made from coat hangers with abstract shapes attached to them.


Serve food art, such as cupcakes frosted to look like baseballs, pretzel butterflies, or sandwiches cut in the shape of hands. Consult The Secret Life of Food by Clare Crespo for ideas. Or, let the children create the refreshments as edible craft projects.

Audio Recordings

Play the recording of “Micawber” included in the book of the same title by John Lithgow. Lithgow reads his own story.


Tell the story The Boy Who Drew Cats by Aaron Shepherd. This Japanese folktale explores the value of art and is available on Aaron Shepard’s Home Page at www.aaronshep.com/stories/045.html.


Lots o’ Dots

  • Art paper
  • Tempera paints
  • Stiff paintbrushes

Show the children some of the works of George Seurat and other pointillists. Then let them create their own pictures using the stippling technique. Refer to Moira Butterfield’s How to Draw and Paint the Outdoors for technique.

Fantastic Food Art

  • Fruits and vegetables, various sizes and shapes (examples: bell peppers, bananas, mushrooms, radishes, oranges, olives)
  • Dry black-eyed peas
  • Toothpicks
  • Pencils or markers
  • Small pumpkin carving tools (may require adult assistance)
  • Low temperature glue gun (recommended for use by adults and older children only)
  • Sharp knife (for use by adults only)

Show the children pictures from Baby Food, Dog Food, or How Are You Peeling? by Saxton Freymann. Let them create similar food sculptures using the materials listed. Use the pencils or markers to draw guidelines on vegetables that will be carved. Use the toothpicks to support “ears” and other add-ons, if necessary. Put the food art on display.

Emphasize that this food is not for eating, especially if glue was used to hold pieces together. Assist young children with glue gun. Do not allow children to use the sharp knife.


Drawing to Music

  • 5 sheets of blank drawing paper per child (9” x 12” or larger)
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Paintbrushes (optional)
  • Watercolor or tempera paint (optional)

Play 3-minute segments of music in a variety of styles such as symphonic, heavy metal, blue grass, new age, etc. Let the children draw or paint pictures or designs based on how the music makes them feel. Afterward, compare the works to see how music affected their artistic expression.

“Jackson Pollock” Painting

  • Large sheets of paper
  • Various colors of tempera paint
  • Paint brushes in assorted sizes (medium to large)
  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Large plastic garbage bags

This activity requires a large non-carpeted area. Ask the children to bring old, over-sized shirts to cover their clothes, or cut holes in plastic garbage bags to make art smocks. Cover the floor with plastic drop cloths. Lay the sheets of art paper on the floor and let the children create pictures by dripping the paint onto the paper. After the paint dries, let the children take their masterpiece home or hang them in the library.

Guest Speakers

Invite an artist, art teacher, or gifted high school student to demonstrate art techniques, show the materials they use to create their artwork, and display works in various stages of completion.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs to the children during a movie program. Otherwise, display them for home use.

  • Art Start series. (20 minutes)
  • Getting My Start in Art. (18 minutes)
  • Let’s Discover Art History. (23 minutes)

Professional Resources

  • Baby Food by Saxton Freymann and Joost Ellfers.
  • Dog Food by Saxton Freymann and Joost Ellfers.
  • Great Artists by Robert Cumming.
  • How Are You Peeling by Saxton Freymann and Joost Ellfers.
  • How to Draw and Paint the Outdoors by Moira Butterfield.
  • Jackson Pollock by Clare Oliver.
  • Math-terpieces by Greg Tang.
  • Secret Life of Food by Clare Crespo.


Texas Reading Club 2005 Programming Manual / Go Wild...Read!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011