How to Teach Kids Art of the 1920s

Written by lisa mcquerrey
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How to Teach Kids Art of the 1920s
The 1920s featured colourful and vibrant art styles. (abstract art background image by Jaroslav Machacek from

Art of the 1920s included a variety of styles such as surrealism and art deco. This type of art brought new attention to techniques, including creative use of luminous colours as well as simple black and white line drawings and photography. These styles lend themselves to simple yet educational hands-on art projects that can teach kids 1920s art in a creative fashion.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Examples of art deco and surrealistic artwork
  • Multi-colour, multi-pattern and multi-textured paper
  • Acid-free glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Card stock or poster board
  • Rubbing or transfer art paper
  • Art charcoal
  • Fine-tip black pen
  • Parchment paper

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  1. 1

    Teach kids art of the 1920s by providing them with sample pictures of three of the most popular 1920s art forms: art deco, the frottage format associated with surrealism, and black and white line art. Find texts that provide history on some of the most well-known artists of the 1920s, such as Maxfield Parrish, C. Coles Phillips and Pablo Picasso.

  2. 2

    Emphasise the styles of the period through creating an art deco project, supplying kids with a variety of unusual scrapbook-style papers in wild, vibrant colours, patterns and textures. Animal prints, stripes, circles and black and white checkerboard patterns are all good examples of art deco-style materials. Using inspiration from the sample pictures they viewed, instruct kids to cut their papers into various shapes like curves and chevrons to create an abstract, freeform collage design mounted on cardstock or poster board.

  3. 3

    Take your art class outdoors to simulate the creation of a surrealistic frottage project. This is a style of rubbing transfer that is created by placing tracing or rubbing paper against a texturised object and rubbing the art charcoal across the surface of the paper. The image will be outlined on the paper. This is a great technique to try on fossils, unusual rock or wood surfaces or even raised print signs, like number plates.

  4. 4

    Teach Kids art of the 1920s by having them experiment with black and white line art, creating simple pieces using only a piece of white parchment paper and a fine-tip black pen.

Tips and warnings

  • Allow freedom of expression in teaching kids 1920s art. While there are certain techniques associated with this time period, creativity and abstract thinking was a hallmark of many 1920s art styles.
  • The drawing of nudes was prevalent in 1920s art. Make sure instructional material is appropriate and non-offensive for the age group you're teaching.

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