Art is one of those subjects that many middle schoolers look forward to.
It provides a welcome creative outlet and gives them a break from math and languages.
Coming up with compelling new art project ideas isn’t always easy, though.
Sometimes, as teachers, our creative juices just run dry.
Fear not, you bring the paints; we’ve got the ideas covered.
Below, we’ve pulled together a list of the 30 best art activities for middle school students – you’re welcome!
1. Self-Portraits With Mixed Media
Have students create self-portraits using various materials like magazine clippings, fabric, paint, and colored pencils.
This activity encourages self-expression and lets students experiment with different mediums.
2. Art History Timeline
Guide your middle school students to research different art movements, from ancient to modern times, and then have them create a timeline using drawings, paintings, or collages that represent each period.
3. Cultural Art Study
Assign different cultures or countries to students and have them research traditional art forms from that culture. They can then create their own artwork inspired by their research.
4. Nature Impressions
Take students outside and have them choose a natural object.
They can then create artwork using this object, either by drawing or painting it or using it to make impressions in clay.
5. Comic Strips
Encourage students to create their own short comic strips.
This activity can be integrated with literature, allowing students to adapt scenes from books or plays they’re studying.
6. Mural Project
As a group, students can brainstorm a theme and then create a large mural that represents that theme. This promotes teamwork and allows students to contribute to a bigger project.
7. Recycled Art
Have students bring in old or discarded items from home and challenge them to turn these materials into a new piece of art.
This teaches resourcefulness and environmental consciousness.
8. 3D Sculpture
Using materials like clay, wire, or papier-mâché, students can create three-dimensional sculptures.
This can be based on a theme, or they can have free rein to create what they wish.
9. Stop Motion Animation
With the use of simple apps or software, students can create their own stop-motion videos.
They can sculpt characters, design sets, and develop short narratives.
Introduce students to the basics of printmaking using materials like rubber, foam, or linoleum. They can carve their own designs and then make prints using various colors of ink.
11. Photography Exploration
If the right equipment is available at your school, students can delve into photography, learning about composition, lighting, and subjects.
They can then hold a small exhibition of their best shots.
12. Abstract Watercolor Backgrounds
Equip students with watercolor paints and let them create abstract backgrounds by mixing and blending different colors.
Once dry, they can use black ink or thin markers to overlay patterns or doodles on top.
13. Thematic Sketchbook
Provide each student with a sketchbook and introduce a theme every week.
This will not only improve their drawing skills but also encourage them to think creatively within set parameters.
14. Monochromatic Painting
Challenge students to choose one color and create a painting using only shades, tints, and tones of that color. This is a great way to teach them about color depth and variation.
15. Landscapes In Perspective
Teach students the basics of one-point, two-point, and three-point perspectives, and have them create a landscape or cityscape based on these principles.
16. Ceramic Tile Painting
Get your hands on some blank ceramic tiles and let students paint on them with specialized ceramic paints.
Once dried, these can be glazed and fired for a lasting piece of art.
17. Pop Art Portraits
Introduce students to the world of Pop Art, highlighting artists like Andy Warhol.
Have them create their own pop art-style portraits using bold colors and patterns.
18. Collaborative Story Illustration
Start a narrative and ask every student to draw a continuation of the story based on the previous student’s artwork. This can result in a fascinating visual story at the end.
19. Interactive Art
Allow students to create art pieces that viewers can interact with.
This could be tactile art, pieces with movable parts, or even art that involves light and shadow.
20. Origami And Paper Sculpture
Go beyond the traditional paper folding methods and challenge students to create intricate paper sculptures or large-scale origami installations.
21. Mosaic Madness
Provide students with broken tiles, glass pieces, or colored paper and have them create mosaics. This could be on boards, pots, or even furniture.
22. Clay Busts
Give each student clay and tools, and ask them to create a miniature clay bust of themselves.
23. Art Inspired by Literature
After reading a story, poem, or play in class, students can be asked to interpret and depict a scene, character, or emotion through their artwork.
24. Kinetic Sculptures
Introduce the concept of art in motion. Using wire, beads, and other materials, students can craft sculptures that move, rotate, or balance.
25. Resin Art
Introduce your students to resin as a medium and have them create coasters or hangers made with resin and filled with materials like buttons, glitter, or even flower petals.
26. Digital Art Exploration
If resources allow, students can explore digital mediums like graphic design, digital painting, or even 3D modeling.
There are many free software options available that are user-friendly for beginners.
27. Fashion Design
Engage your students in the task of designing clothes for the future. They can use bold pens or different materials to create shapes and textures.
28. Geometric Shapes
Share the concept of geometric shapes in art with your students and ask them to draw an animal using only geometric shapes.
29. Jewelry Making
Introduce students to the world of jewelry design. Using beads, wire, thread, and other adornments, they can create earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
As they advance, techniques like bead weaving, macramé, and even simple metalwork can be explored.
This activity can be particularly rewarding as students can wear and showcase their creations.
30. Handmade Greeting Cards
Incorporate printmaking, collage, and drawing techniques to create unique greeting cards.
Students can design cards for specific holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions.
This activity can teach students about design composition and the importance of conveying a message through their artwork.
Further reading: Drawing games for your students.
Art is an opportunity to let your imagination run wild while learning about the concepts and techniques that have influenced the world of art.
It’s an important part of the curriculum that allows children to express their creativity.
Above, we’ve given you 28 art activities for middle school students that they’re sure to enjoy.
Hopefully, this will help to keep your lessons fresh and exciting.
Ready for more inspiration? Take a look at these STEM ideas.
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