Michelangelo Art Lesson Ideas for Kids

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo

Best known for his work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of the most celebrated and accomplished artists in history. Born in 1475 AD in Tuscany, Michelangelo was a successful painter and sculptor during his lifetime. Preparing fun Michelangelo art projects for kids will deepen their appreciation of this great artist's talent and legacy.

1 Experiment with Overhead Drawing

For five years, Michelangelo worked while hanging from a suspended scaffold as he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Your Michelangelo art lesson plans can leave a lasting impression. For example, when teaching your students about Michelangelo's paintings and particularly his work on the chapel ceiling, instruct them to tape a piece of drawing paper under their desk. Have the children lie on their backs beneath the table while drawing or painting on the paper taped above them. For younger students, have the children draw with crayons or colored pencils. For older students, have them work with tempera or acrylic paint. After the students have finished drawing or painting, host a class discussion about how it felt to work in this manner and what it must have been like for Michelangelo to work in this way for five years.

2 Try Imitating the Great Master

An artistic study is when an artist tries to replicate the work of another artist in order to gain better knowledge of the techniques that artist used. Have the students choose a painting by Michelangelo to study and provide them with a printout of the painting to reference. On a piece of painting paper, have the students try to replicate Michelangelo's painting in terms of style, color and technique. This lesson will give the students more insight into how Michelangelo created his paintings, and the attention to detail that was involved in painting each one.

3 Dabble in Sculpting

Michelangelo's sculptures, such as the David, were chiseled from marble rather than modeled from clay. To teach children about the techniques used to create a chiseled statue, provide your students with bars of soap and small hammers and chisels. Have the students choose an object to create a sculpture of and have them try to chisel the soap into the form of the chosen object. Or you can allow your students to carve their own soap sculptures. Alternatively, you can plan Plaster of Paris activities for kids as an introduction to the art of sculpture.

4 Show Sensitivity Teaching Michelangelo Ideas

When brainstorming Michelangelo ideas for lesson plans, remember that students may get discouraged when they see that their work is vastly inferior to Michelangelo's. As the teacher, be kind, supportive and praising of each student's efforts to ensure they do not give up, particularly when working on the artistic study or sculpture activities. You may consider hosting an in-class art show or setting up a gallery for the kids to show off their sculptures or paintings. Instruct students to describe one thing they like about each piece of art in order to make each child feel confident and proud of their artwork.