An Art Collaborative Project: Round Table Painting

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It’s essential – though challenging – to engage kids in any type of collaborative project. Bringing our kids together to create something is an important recharging break. I’m sure you’ve experienced a frustrated child with a mental overload … if he’s taught one more thing, it will wash over him, meaninglessly – he’s at capacity. He needs a break to absorb his learning, and art is the perfect way to experience intellectual release. I believe the Lord has gifted us with a natural creativity to help us learn and grow.

That being said, art collaboratives seem daunting, not just because of the disagreement potential, but also because of the inevitable mess. But before we skip the brushes for good, I’d like to offer a project solution that can make the collaboration fun.

Supplies needed for this project: Kraft paper roll, tempera paint and brushes (you could also use tempera art sticks or rollers for less mess), large black SharpieÒ marker, timer

Age Range: K-6th

Project Time: 20-30 minutes, depending on how many kids

Parent involvement: Moderate (Drawing shapes, supervising painting rotations)

Prep time: 10 minutes

First, gather supplies, then lay out the paper roll on a large table or floor (even outside on a driveway). Make sure you use enough, so every child fits comfortably around it. Draw shapes with the Sharpie® marker until the entire page is filled. You can use circles, squares, triangles or a combination; just make sure the borders of each shape touches so it’s edge to edge (You can even use flowers or leaves if you want to make it a fall or spring themed painting.). Then have each child sit in a space or chair around the paper. Give each child a different paint color. They then rotate on a five-minute timer until the painting is completely filled in.

To keep the colors fresh, don’t let the kids switch colors. This may be tricky – given a variety of favorite colors – so you could offer a lighter and darker version if you find one color is the favorite of many. In fact, monochromatic paintings use all one hue in different tones. Just mix the color with white to get a lighter version (you can’t mix if you use the paint rollers). You could make this a mixed media project by having one child paste magazine clippings of a certain theme or color, or for older children, this could become a study of different painting techniques, each using a different technique, rather than color. This versatile project can work in a myriad of ways.

I hope you enjoy it!


Carole Ruffin is wife to Jesse and mom of five wonderful kids. She’s the author of Kids, Crayons, and Christ early elementary art curriculum, and also a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art. She vlogs art instructional videos for elementary students. Here’s her vlog:

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).