The winter season is a great time to introduce arctic animals to young artists. The magical and beautiful polar bear is often a favorite during winter theme activities! Today we’ll use sponges, cardboard, and erasers to paint polar bears at night in this fun polar bear art project for kids. Children will be introduced to a variety of painting techniques while hopping and stamping along.
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Sponge Painting with Kids
Before I introduce paint brushes to young children I always begin with sponge brushes. Gripping the sponge brush is much more manageable and the repetitive up and down or hopping motion is both engaging and fun!
Children are able to express themselves through the painting process and see immediate results. Sponge painting is ideal for improving eye and hand coordination and fine motor skill development. I often infuse music into the painting process as we sing “hop, hop, hop, all over the polar bear” and his black skin becomes white fur.
No sponge brushes on hand? No problem! You can make an easy DIY version with pom poms and clothespins as shown in our painting with pom poms post.
Polar Bear Facts for Kids
As you introduce this polar bear art project it can be fun to weave in a bit of science with these fun facts about polar bears.
- Polar bears live in cold climates.
- Polar bears have a great sense of smell.
- Polar bears love to eat seals.
- Polar bears have 42 teeth.
- Polar bears have black skin and transparent fur that appears white.
Materials for Polar Bear Art Project:
- Black Construction Paper
- Sponge Brush
- Black Marker
- White Tempera Paint
- Metallic Silver Tempera Paint
Step by Step Directions:
Begin to draw the polar bear by making a large circle for the head, a thick neck that extends to the bottom of the paper, and two round ears. Oftentimes, I encourage my students to pretend to draw with their fingers before they use a pencil. This can help with self-correcting and build confidence.
2. Paint Without Paintbrushes
Use a sponge brush to fill in the entire polar bear. Be sure to hop, hop, hop with the brush to turn the black skin of the polar bear into white fur.
Use a piece of cardboard as a printing tool by dipping one end into silver paint and stamping lines in a circular pattern to form stars.
Use the eraser end of a pencil to stamp snowflakes in the sky. Dip the eraser in white paint and hop about. Feel free to create just a few snow flurries or even a snowstorm if you wish.
3. Cut & Glue
Cut out two eyes, and two small ears from a piece of newspaper. Create a protruding facial feature by cutting out a diamond from newspaper and trimming all four points. Cut out a black oval for the nose. Glue the pieces to the polar bear.
4. Dress it Up!
Use a black marker to add details such as a mouth, eyeballs, eyelashes, and/or eyebrows. Add additional details such as bows and bow ties with construction paper.
Extend this Art Activity
- Describe the weather in your artwork.
- What time of day is it?
- What shapes can you identify in your work?
- What colors can you identify in your work?
- What painting tool did you enjoy painting with the most? Least? Why?
Art and Literacy
I recommend the book Bedtime for Little Bears by David Bedford. The book centers on a bear cub who doesn’t want to go to sleep. He meets a few arctic friends amongst the snowscape and soon enough little bear is fast asleep.
Be sure to tag your artwork on Instagram with @fantasticfunandlearning and @youngschoolartwithmr.g. We can’t wait to see your cute and furry polar bears!
CONNECT WITH VIN GIANNETTO
MORE ART AND CRAFT PROJECT IDEAS FROM VIN
Winter and Winter Holiday Art Projects for Kids
Click on the images below to see the full tutorial for each art project.
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