You can expect your kindergartner to create art — and lots of it. One interesting fact is that kindergartners don’t usually draw realistic proportions in their pictures: They make what is most important to them very large and simply leave out what isn’t. In other words, you can expect your child to draw what they know about an object, rather than what they see.

Art in your kindergartner’s classroom

Kindergartners create lots of artwork

Dr. Mike Norris, associate museum educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, notes: “Kindergartners, with their strong imaginations, feel there is more to things than meets the eye, and they freely project their current ideas onto art, even if the observation seems quite distant from the work of art in question. Still, they have had a good look. They especially enjoy sculpture, which often has many points of view and seems more substantial to them than pictures.”

Learning about line and color, shapes, and more

This year, your kindergartner will begin to learn about line and color by drawing and painting. They’ll learn about shape by cutting or folding paper. They’ll learn about texture by making collages with fabric and yarn, and they’ll learn about form by molding clay. As kids learn to use a variety of art materials, they begin to develop sensory skills as well. Hopefully your child will begin to see art as a subject and feel respected as an artist.

Recognizing the elements of art

In kindergarten, students practice recognizing and describing the elements of art in nature, famous artwork, and the world around them. Nancy Roucher, an arts education consultant, says: “Children should be encouraged to not just look at something, but to really ‘see’ it.”

Kindergartners might look closely at the shapes of trees and translate their observations into a line drawing. Or they might discuss the use of lines in a painting: Are the lines straight or wavy, thick or thin? They might be asked to identify the basic shapes in a painting, such as circles, squares, and triangles.

Kindergartners learn art vocabulary words

Kindergartners learn the names of art materials and begin to develop the vocabulary to talk about art. They typically learn the difference between “cool” colors like blue and green, and “warm” ones like reds and oranges. They paint pictures that express ideas about family and community, and discuss them in class. They also begin to see that artists observe, imagine, and think, and that art is a form of communication.

Integrating art into the curriculum

In kindergarten, art is often integrated with writing and reading. Students will typically draw a picture or make a painting and be asked to describe it with a sentence that they dictate to the teacher or write themselves.

Many states base their arts standards on the National Standards for Arts Education, which include standards for visual arts, dance, theater, and music.

What to look for when you visit

  • Large-size paper and large brushes to help students develop fine motor skills
  • Crayons, markers, paints, brushes
  • Examples of student artwork that uses a variety of materials
  • Scissors, paper, glue
  • Clay or other sculpting material
  • A block area with different shaped blocks and tubes
  • Art reproductions