Cool Art Projects for Middle School

If you read my previous post, you would have seen that finger painting is all the rage amongst us moon inhabitants. Even some established adult artists use finger painting as the medium of choice for their artwork. But when I tried to entice middle school students, these arguments got me nowhere. They felt finger painting was for babies in spite of the fact that I haven’t been a baby for two billion years. (In fact, I might have been an egg; it’s a long and bitter debate amongst us moon individuals.)

So we need art projects for middle school kids who are far from being children and even farther from being adults (I just saw a middle school kid roll its eyes; my point proven).Cool art projects are needed that will deal with these kids. Unlike elementary school kids, middle school children are old enough to get a feel for all the various disciplines of art. Such disciplines include drawing, sculpture, painting, working in clay and graphic design. Students can select the discipline that they like the most and concentrate on that.

And since you earthlings think you are so technologically advanced (*snicker*), you can introduce the role of technology in the art world. Students can see how traditional art and computer art compare. Computer art projects can include self portraits, stop motion animation, package design, and comics. But you may wish to stick with the more traditional and tactile art forms since kids (and even space dudes) spend much too much time with computers.

Painting Activities for Kids

Because there are so many mediums to choose and since I got a blow back from middle school kids for suggesting finger painting, then why not stick a brush in the their hands and see how they like it. So let us take a look at water coloring, shall we? It’s a huge topic, but let me point out some things that may make this a candidate for a cool art project.

Watercolor has many positive features. It is a portable medium. It is correctable; I’m told you can even erase. Watercolor dries quickly and is ready in minutes. Water color is technique intensive so there is a lot to learn—great for the engaged middle school student.

Brushes are versatile. Flat brushes are good for wide strokes, wetting paper for backgrounds and “scalloped lines” which are wavy lines that alternate thick and thin. Round brushes are good for detail but can make larger strokes when more pressure is applied. Even the brush’s other end for round dots or to chisel off excess paint just before the project dries.

You can grip the brush in different ways. You can grip it like a stair railing where your thumb is next to the brush and your four fingers on the handle. This is good for wider strokes. Or you can hold the brush toward the end so more body movement is involved when making brush strokes.

I’ve only just scratched the surface (I’m so witty!) on this one, but I hope I piqued the interest of some middle school kid who wants to experiment. Maybe one day someone will make a watercolor picture of me and give me a break from my mundane pen and ink (and computer pixel) existence.


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