Art Projects for 8-13 Year Olds

Use art projects to enhance academic lessons.

Art projects for students eight to thirteen years old can enhance classroom academics and foster creativity. Art projects using multiple forms of media can be free-flowing expressions of the student's vision or related to classroom learning. After studying a particular type of creation media or famous artist, students can make their own interpretation of the art form or artisan. You can infuse environmental preservation into an art project by making recycled or “upcycled” art projects.

1 Edible Color Wheel

Teach elementary school students the basics of an artist's color wheel with an edible art project. While learning about primary and secondary colors, students can create a delicious work of art to eat at the end of the unit. You can design the project as an individual project or a group endeavor. Draw a color wheel on the chalkboard as a model for the students to follow. Show the students how to mix food coloring to create colors to turn white frosting into vibrant colors. Spread the icing onto vanilla wafer cookies and arrange them properly into color fashion. Grade the students on their ability to follow the color guide before pouring glasses of milk and enjoying the edible art.

2 Trash to Treasure

Embark on an earth-friendly journey with middle school art students. Teach the young teens how to turn trash into treasure by upcycling discarded items into decorative art. Spend some time searching online for stores or galleries that focus on creating art from recycled materials. Give each student a trash bag and one week to salvage discarded items to use for the project. Allow the students to let their creativity shine and guide the direction of their creation. Students can use standard art supplies to adorn and manipulate the materials they collect.

3 Character Collage

Students from both elementary and middle school grades can work independently on an “Essence of Self” project. Students will use photography and poster board to make a collage about themselves. Before giving detailed instructions about the project, have the students write down a dozen words or sentences that describe themselves and a top five list of their favorite hobbies. Tell the students to keep their lists a secret while taking or compiling photos that demonstrate what is on the worksheet. Photos displayed on the board cannot show images of themselves, their families, pets or their homes. After the students have completed the collage, hang all of the projects in a school hallway. Tape a folder underneath each creation. Students can attempt to identify each artist by dropping slips of paper with their guesses into the folder.

4 Paper Quilt

Showcase student renditions of famous art works with a paper quilt. Arrange for a display space at the school or within the community to showcase the creation once completed. You can see how well the students understood art history by handing out a piece of colored paper with an artist's name, time period or type of media. The students must draw or create a 3-D display on their page. Use a hole punch and yarn to string the pages together to make a colorful paper quilt to display both the academic and artistic skills of the class.

Tara Dodrill began writing professionally in 1990. She is a travel writer and photographer working for print and online media, primarily covering Florida, ecotourism and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Her writing credits include RUMBUM, Yahoo News, Visit South magazine,and North Carolina Coastal Guide. She studied journalism and education at Ohio University and real estate at Hondros College.