Pet Portraits Art Project
This art activity builds children's "pet appreciation."
- Grades: PreK–K
- Collage materials, paints, markers, glue, construction paper, tagboard
- Clay or playdough
- Science concepts
- Recording data
Children will create an animal portrait gallery in the classroom.
Set Up and Prepare
Send home a note asking parents for an old frame with the glass removed, if that's possible, or go to a thrift shop and purchase a variety of frames. In the event that frames aren't available, children can glue their portraits to colored construction paper. Have books available for the children to use as resources. Read fiction and nonfiction stories about animals to children.
Step 1: Begin with a discussion about the different kinds of animals in our world. Explain that anything alive and not a plant is an animal. Brainstorm with children about the different kinds of animals. Make a list on chart paper and post it so other animals can be added as children think of them. Discuss how animals differ from one another in color, size, body parts, and body coverings.
Step 2: Explain to children that they will be creating an animal portrait gallery. What is a portrait? Have they, or do they know anyone who has ever had a portrait done?
Step 3: From the brainstormed list of animals, let children choose one to illustrate. Help each child think about the details of their animal. Discuss how the portrait should resemble that animal. What kind of body covering does it have (fur, shell, feathers, scales)? How many legs does it have? Does it have antlers, antennae, ears, or a beak? Is the animal large or small? What color or colors is it?
Step 4: Allow each child an opportunity to plan what materials he or she will need to make a portrait. Plans can be stated verbally or written out on a sheet of paper.
Step 5: Pass out heavy tagboard pieces so children can begin their work. Children may dictate the animals' names to you or you can write them out for them to copy.
Step 6: After the children complete their portraits, pass out frames to fit their pictures. Let children glue the picture to the frame (assistance from teachers or parent helpers may be necessary).
Step 7: When dry, place portraits in your animal gallery. Allow each child to share thoughts on his or her masterpiece. Have a gallery walk, or an opening for parents and other classes.
Curriculum Connection: Math
Make a horizontal bar graph with four boxes down and six boxes across. Invite children to draw a different animal in the first box of each row. Let each child come up with their own four animals to draw. Encourage them to ask classmates "Which animal is your favorite?" The child colors in the space in the same row as the selected animal. After children have asked 10 to 12 people, tally the results. The favorite animal of the class is the__________.