art · story · topic

Animals’ Winter Coats

Let’s listen to SciShow kids teach us about animals’ winter coats.

Animals with Winter Coats! by Sci Show Kids

How Do Whales, Penguins and Polar Bears Keep Warm? by Sci Show Kids?

Many animals adapt by changing in their coats, layers of blubber and or outer coverings to stay warm. Just as we put on winter jackets or wrap up in a warm blanket.

Want to learn to draw some animals with winter coats? Stop over at Art For Kids Hub: Artic Fox, Snowy Owl, An Autumn bird or a cat in a sweater. Wait those last two aren’t really how animals adapt their coats for the winter!

Today draw a picture of an animal wearing a winter coat. It can be a true image of an animal wearing their winter adaptation OR an animal wearing human clothes to add to their winter warmth.

art · teachers pay teacher

Scarecrow Direct Drawings

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I love doing direct drawings with children. While I wholly see the value of open ended art projects and suggest them on a regular basis, there is much to be learned and gained by following along with direct drawings!

Art for Kid’s Hub has THREE different scarecrow drawings! Check them out here, here and here. While they are not the only direct drawing available on-line, I used their links with my classes often and even my pre-K kiddos could follow along with the drawing steps, with limited support! I love that he encourages the students to try and reminds them it is ok for all the final products to look different… it’s about having fun.

But, let’s talk through how to draw a scarecrow step by step together! Directions inspired by First and Kinder Blue SKies Scarecrow Direct drawing freebie

hold you paper vertically (tall)

In the middle of the page draw a large smile line

On top draw a flat rainbow line touching the tops of the smile line

from the ends, connect back to the smile line with slight curves

now draw the top of the hat, I like to open this up to let the children be creative. I point out where the line should start (where the smile and rainbow lines connect)

draw two parallel lines at the bottom of the smile line, making the neck

from the bottom of that, draw lines parallel with the bottom of the page all the way to the end of the page

below that draw two shorter parallel lines to make the arms

from the end of those lines, draw perpendicular lines going to the bottom of the page

Now for the fun!

Add eyes, nose, mouth (ears if wanted)

Add straw coming out from under the hat

Add a flower, patch or other embellishment to the hat

Don’t forget clothes!

When you are done drawing, go over all the lines in marker or crayon and create the coloring book lines… then color!

art · family activity · story

Let’s draw Pete the Cat and Name Art

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Children love to draw characters they read about in books. Check out Arts for Kids Hub for their video on drawing Pete the Cat, and hear another Pete story! When I used Arts for Kids Hub in my classroom (or any type of direct drawing), I always have my students draw the illustration with pencil first, then go over it with black crayon or maker and finally color in the picture. I do this to show them that they can go back and erase the pencil to fix the pictures. This is important to show them as well as to erase yourself while doing it with them. Children need to know it is ok to make mistakes and they aren’t something to get upset about, but instead they need to just fix it and move on!

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The second drawing activity today focuses on your child’s name. Children need to master writing their name correctly, not all in uppercase letters. Children in pre-k should work on recognizing and writing their first name. Children in who have mastered their first name should begin working on writing their last name.

Have your child write his/her name in the middle of a sheet of paper. (You can show them how to use block lettering if you want, but it isn’t necessary) Now create an illustration around your name, or use your name as part of the illustration. In my sample, I used the letters of my name as buildings.

Drawing projects are fun to do at the same time as your child. Children pick up on details to add to their illustrations when they draw at the same time as adults. You do not have to be great at drawing (I certainly am not!), your child won’t care. They see that you are doing the same thing as them and they become more invested in the project. So… draw!

art · STEAM · story


At my house, we have multiple bird feeders. We love to watch the various types of birds that come to the two feeders. Some of our favorites are the hummingbirds that visit our hummingbird feeder, this is just outside my kitchen window and the suet feeder that the woodpeckers visit. But, these are not the feeders I’m talking about today. We have a feeder outside my husband’s office that holds just regular bird seed. This is in our flower bed, and it became the site of LOTS of sunflowers this year. Birds are NOT neat eaters and evidently lots of seeds got planted.

4 square of a sunflower growing

So… today we will talk about sunflowers!

Sunflower House by Eve Bunting

Time Lapse of Sunflower from seed to flower my students love these time lapse videos. It is a great way to see the progress of how plants grow. This is a great opportunity to then create a four square picture to show the progression.

Often times when we are completing an art project, I like to show the children a picture of a famous painting/art project that is similar such as Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers for this one

Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers - Hand Painted Oil Painting on Canvas ...
my interpretation of the sunflower from the front yard

Have your child create his/her own picture of a sunflower. Here are some ideas:

  • have paint? use a fork to paint the petals — combine yellow and orange to add depth to the picture
  • have paint? squish a toilet paper tube into a petal shape and use this to stamp the petals
  • paper plate– paint or color a paper plate yellow, cut triangle out to form petals. fill center with black paper or paint
  • construction paper– cut strips and create loops to make petals or cut out petal shapes
  • How to draw a sunflower by Art for Kids Hub
  • Or just put out a variety of art media and let your child be as creative as he/she wants!
art · letter of the day · story

Letter of the Day– Ss

The letter Ss means sunshine, sandcastles, the seashore and…

 Letter Ss song by Jack Hartmann

Printing the letter Ss

Capital S — start in the same place you start capital c, make a little c, before you finish the c, start curving back the other way. (S is one of those letters that you have to do over and over and over to get the muscle memory on how it is formed. Some children see the process easily and others struggle with the motion)

lowercase s– start where you start a lowercase s… follow the steps of the capital, just smaller!

Today’s activities: Seahorses!

Seahorses by Nicole Corse– this is an informational text about seahorses. Learn facts about seahorses.

One Lonely Seahorse by Joost Elfers– The seahorse learns that she has friends as she counts all those she encounters. The illustrations in this book are created from fruits and vegetables.

How to draw a Seahorse from Art for Kid Hub– I love sharing these direct drawings with my students.

art · letter of the day · letter work · STEAM · story

Letter of the Day- Ii

Today we are on the letter Ii. When you work on vowels, focus on the short sound of the vowel, in the case of the letter Ii it is the sound you hear at the beginning of iguana, inch, insect and in the middle of chip, hit, and tin.

Jack Hartmann Ii song

Printing the letter Ii

Capital I- start at the top, go downnn, cross at the top, cross at the bottom

lowercase i- go downnn, jump up above the line and then put a dot (make sure it is not attached– that’s a lollipop, or a big huge scribbled circle… just a visible dot)

Today’s activities: Iguanas!

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufmann Orloff— Alex really wants an iguana. His friend is moving away and needs to rehouse his iguana. Alex writes his mom note explaining why he should have an iguana.

Write your mom/dad/sister/brother/imaginary friend/whoever, a letter explaining why you need something you really want. This is a great opportunity to practice writing a letter. Let your child write this in any form/method they choose. You do not have to write it for them. Have your child read you the letter and explain what it says. Then write back

6 Insane Iguana Facts

Pick one or more facts about the iguana and use it in a picture of iguanas. Compare these facts to facts you know about other animals, such as a pet you own or your favorite type of animal.

Complete a direct drawing of an iguana. Here are two options KidArtX and Art For Kid Hub

art · family activity · STEAM · topic

Friday Fun- Spider webs!

I was trying to decide what to do with my kiddos in zoom this week. I wanted to do something on spiders since they were learning about arachnids this week. I had already told them we were going to do a direct drawing.

I came across two options. Here is the one I am not doing on zoom, so those who watch on zoom have another fun spider direct drawing project.

Materials: paper, pencil, black marker, things to color with

cross lines

Hold the paper vertically (tall and skinny)

Draw a line down the middle of the paper (this divides the paper in half making 2 rectangles)

Draw a line across the middle of the paper forming a “t” (this divides the paper in quarters making 4 squares)

From the middle of the page, draw lines out to the corners, this is a tough skill, but even if the lines aren’t straight it will work. (this divides each quarter in half making two triangles each. when done your paper is now in 8ths and 8 triangles)

Now the fun… ummm tough… no fun part.

completed pencil web

Pick one section. Draw smile lines connecting the two sides of the section together. I did about 4/5 smiles in each section. As you go around, try to connect the smiles in one section to the one in the next section. — again if this doesn’t work exactly it is fine!

After you complete drawing the web with a pencil, I then have my students go over all lines with a marker. This provides the “coloring book lines” and makes the coloring pop as well as makes it easier for them to see the illustration.

Next, we color! I think I have colored more in this quarantine then I have in years past. One the right side of this web I colored in a randomly. This looks really cool, but the teacher in me then switched to doing patterns on the left side! You can do either, both or something else in your imagination. I used crayons because I have those at home. Water color paints would be really cool for this project.

if you want to see the project I am doing with my students on zoom… check out my Instagram account (@mydayinpre_k)… I posted it there.


Topic Tuesday- Direct Drawing of Rabbit

Since it is Easter week, I thought we would walk through the steps of a direct drawing. A directed drawing is showing your child step-by-step how to draw a specific picture. This helps with the concept of drawing, but even more important following directions and listening.

The best way to do this is to draw with your child while explaining the steps. (you can see each step numbered in the picture below)

step by step drawing

You will need a pencil, paper, dark marker, crayons

  • hold the paper tall and thin (portrait)
  • draw a large circle towards the bottom of the page
  • at the top left of the circle draw a low rainbow line going towards the left side of the paper
  • curve the line back in towards itself, but do not connect it back
  • go back to the circle, under your first line, draw another curved line out until it connects with the inward curve of the first line.
left ear
  • now we will work on the other ear, on the right side of the top of the circle draw an upward line with a slight right curve
  • go back to the circle and move right again, draw a mirrored line to the one you just drew so they connect together
  • on the right ear, draw a tall skinny rainbow line inside the other line
  • on the left ear, draw a line from the end of your first curve to the circle, then draw a mirror line just below this to the curved line
finished ears
  • now draw the facial features
  • draw two circles for eyes
  • draw a small “u” connected by a straight line for the nose
  • draw a smile line under the nose
  • connect the smile and the nose with a straight line.
  • draw whiskers
finished with the pencil
  • Now have your child draw over all the pencil lines with a marker or black crayon (we say this is making your coloring book lines) [see top photo]
  • Now the fun begins… color! don’t forget to give your picture a background
finished product, but your child doesn’t need to number the steps!
art · story · writing

First Day of Spring!

Happy spring! It is a gray drizzling day here today, but signs of spring are still popping up all around. I thought today would be a good day to give you a few reading connections and how you can stretch a story.

You can pick a spring story you have at home, search one up on youtube or watch the one I have linked here for you. When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes. This fun and colorful story show how the world changes as spring takes over the environment. It also plays into a fun writing project. In the world of pre-K children’s writing ability can be all over the map. Some children will need to draw the illustrations and then dictate to you what they want to write. Others will use one of the many stages of writing.

Stages of writing:

  • Squiggle lines to represent words
  • Random letters that have no connection the word they are writing (JmtIop=flower)
  • Writing just the beginning sound (f=flower)
  • Moving into hearing more sounds in words – teach your child to slowly stretch out the word to hear all the sounds (flr=flower)
  • Moving more into conventional spelling (flwer= flower)
  • conventional spelling (flower=flower)

Each of these steps is an important part of learning to write. I promise you… your child will not memorize flr as the spelling of the word flower, but giving them the freedom to write phonetically WILL give them the confidence to write. When children are dependent on adults to spell all the words they are afraid to write and won’t write. When they are given the freedom to write on their level, they will want to write!

Here is a writing activity based on the wording in the story, When Spring Comes, but can easily be used with any spring changes story.

writing prompt

Have your child brainstorm changes they see in the spring (snow melting, trees growing buds, flowers starting to bloom, animals coming out of hibernation and more). Have your child complete the illustrations first and then work on the writing. Providing the sentence starter allows your child to form a sentence without the work of sounding out all the words. If your child is ready to write a sentence on his/her own… just give him/her a blank paper and have them fold it in half and do the work on top and bottom leaving space for their words.

example of finished product

I decided to also share another fun and great learning activity that will go with spring… direct drawings. This is a great activity for so many reasons. It helps children see the drawing process, but there is so much more going on. This works on focus, listening to and watching the steps and directions. Following along and while being creative, following step by step. Everyone can put their own little spins on the art, but for the most part they are true to form. Art Hub for kids is a great youtube channel for these direct drawings. Here is a link to a direct drawing of a tulip in a pot.

I always have my students complete the drawing in pencil. Then the go over their pencil lines with a black maker to make the “coloring book” lines. Then they can color the picture. This would make a fun family project. It is crazy to see how different ages and personality interpret the drawings.

I had my sons help me show this process. You can see the step by step work on my i/g account

Share what you did on the first day of spring. What is your weather? What story did you read? Did you complete the writing or tulip drawing? Let me know in comments.