Oil pastel activities with the kids

Written by laura myers
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Oil pastel activities with the kids
Oil pastels come in vivid colours. (pot de pastels de couleurs image by laurent hamels from Fotolia.com)

If you are looking for art activities with the kids, oil pastels can be a satisfying medium. Oil pastels are simple to use, inexpensive and clean. They are versatile in that they can be combined with many other media, including watercolours, acrylic paint, charcoal, pencil crayons and felt markers. Because they do not require a fixative they can be layered, colour upon colour or with other media. Furthermore, the colours are vivid and intense. With oil pastels. children can create many art projects at home as well as in the classroom.

Self Portraits with Oil Pastels

This oil pastel activity requires nothing more than white construction paper, a mirror and a variety of oil pastels. First, the children should look carefully at their reflections in the mirror. The next step is for each child to draw an approximate outline of the face, hair and neck on the paper. Finally, the entire page should be filled in with oil pastels. For the face, the child can either use natural colours or experiment with various shades such as blue, purple, yellow, green or red. The background can be a room, an abstract pattern or a solid colour. After they are finished, have the kids write their name and the date on the back.

Oil Pastel Butterflies

For this activity, each child needs to have one large sheet of white drawing or construction paper, along with a paintbrush, pencil, blue tempera paint and oil pastels. Paper that is about 12 inches by 18 inches works very well. A large butterfly outline is drawn on the paper, using the pencil. It should cover most of the page. It helps if you have some examples of butterfly drawings and photos for inspiration. After the outline has been drawn, the child should add many kinds of details, such as stripes, swirls, dots and shapes, also in pencil. These pencil lines can be changed, if desired. The pencil lines are then boldly drawn over with a black oil pastel. Next, the butterfly is coloured in with oil pastels. Once the butterfly has been completely filled in, paint over the entire page with a blue wash with the tempera paint and water. The wash will not adhere to the oil pastels, thus creating a blue background for the picture.

Hands of Friendship

This is a suitable oil pastel activity for three or more children. They will each need a sheet of white construction paper and oil pastels. First, the children trace the outlines of each other's hands on the pieces of paper. The hands in the drawings should not overlap, but should cover the pages as much as possible. It is all right if a child's hands are drawn more than once on a page; the main thing is to cover most of the paper. After the hands have been drawn, the kids should first colour them in, using a variety of vivid colours. Finally, they must fill in the spaces between the hands with even more colours. The children will then have cooperatively created their friendship pictures.

Stained Glass Fish Drawing

This activity produces a brightly coloured fish drawing that is reminiscent of stained glass. Required materials are black paper, pencil, clear-drying white glue and oil pastels. Using the pencil, the children draw a fish on the black paper. They should add details such as fins, scales, gills and any decorative lines they choose. After the drawings are completed they must trace over all of the lines with white glue. The next step is to wait for the glue to completely dry, which may take overnight. Lastly, the children should colour the areas between the glue lines with brightly coloured oil pastels. For a contrasting effect, the background can be left black.

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