Art history doesn’t have to be boring. Make it everyone’s favorite subject with these fun ways to teach artists for children.
Which Famous Artists Should You Teach to Kids?
Everyone knows that art history informs and inspires kids.
But how do you teach it in a way kids will absorb and enjoy?
The first step involves selecting the right artists.
Yes, you want to include the masters who perfected their craft, and you want to include those who ushered in new styles of art.
But you also want to pick artists whose work and life are memorable and appealing to kids.
Try to pick artists, both male and female, from different periods of time and different places on the globe.
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Here are some of the best artists for children to study:
- Georgia O’Keefe
- Leonardo DaVinci
- Jackson Pollack
- Gustav Klimt
- Claude Monet
- Andy Warhol
- Yayoi Kusama
- George Seurat
- Vincent VanGogh
- Grandma Moses
- Keith Haring
- Henri Matisse
- Pablo Picasso
- Salvador Dali
- Piet Mondrian
- Wassily Kandinsky
- Rene Magritte
- Frida Kahlo
- M.C. Escher
- Roy Lichtenstein
- Lorna Simpson
Ways to Teach Kids About Famous Artists
Here are some fun ways to teach about artists for children.
View Art: the Bigger, the Better
All of the artists named above have bright or detailed artwork that is worth poring over.
Don’t confine it to a tiny picture in a book!
Expose kids to the magnitude and vibrancy of artwork.
You can check out oversized art books from the library, or you can go the digital route.
Cast images to the wall using a portable projector or mirror them to your largest TV screen.
Let kids get up close and personal with famous works of art.
Visit a Museum
Although museums are often quiet spaces, most of them welcome children.
Seeing art in real life is the best way to capture the energy and immediacy of a piece of art.
Even if you don’t have famous art near you, you can point out what is similar and different in the art at your local museum.
You can also visit local art shows to see the art your community is making!
Read Engaging Biographies for Kids
Read engaging biographies of famous artists.
Check out the Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists series.
They have text geared for kids, pictures of artwork, and even talking cartoon characters that add humor.
Another great series is What the Artist Saw.
These books for kids show what inspired the artists to make their artwork.
Kid Artists is a compilation book that tells about the childhoods of many famous artist.
Use a Variety of Art Supplies
When teaching children about art, use the same media as the artist when possible.
Invest in watercolors, oil or acrylic paints, pastels, canvases, and art paper.
You can save these special supplies for art history.
Make Your Own Book
You don’t need to read from a textbook, you can make your own book of famous artists!
This is simpler than ever with these pages on Famous Artists.
Each page features fun facts about the artist, a short bio, a picture of the artist to color, a famous work by the artist, and–the best part–a space for the student to recreate the work of art in his own way.
You can find these Famous Artist Pages here–simply click and print!
Get a FREE SAMPLE of the Famous Artists Drawing Prompts by signing up or clicking download below (if you’re already logged in to Grow (our free sign-up system that lets you sign in once and have access to all of our printables hosted this way)!
Tie It to Writing
Art history already ties together two subjects (art and history), so why not incorporate a third?
You can design a writing prompt to accompany each artist.
You could practice descriptive writing by looking at a piece of art and describing it in detail.
You can research and write about the life of the famous artist.
You can give a creative writing prompt where the student writes a story about what’s in the painting.
Why is Mona Lisa smiling?
Tie It to Music
Most changes in art corresponded to changes in music as well.
Pick a theme song for each famous artist, one that corresponds to the time in which they lived.
Make a Portfolio or Exhibit
Too often schoolwork is tossed aside when completed.
Do something special with your famous artists.
You can create a portfolio of papers and artwork inspired by famous artists.
Better yet, hang it up! Make an art exhibit of your projects.
Make a Visual Timeline
Ordinary timelines are words and, well, lines.
Make an art history timeline with works of art instead.
Hang it on the wall!
It’s both beautiful and educational!
Famous Artists for Children to Learn About
Learning about famous artists can be the best part of the school day.
By picking engaging art and artists and adding in plenty of hands-on activities, your students are sure to love and remember these famous artists!