Matisse Collage Craft for Kids

Famous artist activities for kids can go well beyond just painting. Your little artist can use paper to make a colorful collage, ala Henri Matisse!

Matisse Art Project for Kids - this is such a fun project kids from toddler, preschool, prek, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, 3rd grade and more will love! Unlike the usual painting projects associated with famous artists - this one cuts and pastes out shapes to tell a story! LOVE THIS!

Matisse, like many artists, told stories through his art.  Even at age 81 (while he was confined to his bed), he created his paper cut-out The Thousand and One Nights. In telling the classic tale Arabian Nights through his art, Matisse used pictures instead of words. Your child can do the same – just, with her own story.

What can your child learn during this activity? This kids’ collage activity combines art with math and literacy learning. Not only can your child build her fine motor skills and explore artistic expression, but she’ll also problem-solve, learn about shape and space and get more comfortable with the narrative structure. That’s right, she’ll create her own Matisse-esque collage, straight from her own story.

What story should your child tell? That depends. She can pick a story from a book or make up her own tale. Ours is based on the season! Instead of just creating one, we made two sunny summer scenes. Your child can create one collage, or line up a few on a larger piece of paper (such as poster
board) make an oversized artwork – like Matisse did with The Thousand and One Nights.

After coming up with a story to tell, ask your child to break it down into the beginning, middle and end. Write down the characters, the setting and have your child explain the plot. Use those specific words (characters, setting and plot) to build up your child’s vocabulary.

Matisse Art for Kids

Now, it’s time to start the art-making!  You’ll Need:

  • Card stock paper in different colors
  • Scissors
  • Clear-drying school glue
cut out shapes for art project for kids
Cut out shapes. These can include geometric shapes (such as circles, triangles and squares) or your child can create free-formed organic shapes (squiggles and cloud-like or amoeba-like shapes). As she cuts out the shapes, have her compare the cut-out with what it was cut from. Putting the two
pieces side-by-side helps your child to better understand the concept of positive and negative space. The cut-out is the positive part, while the empty area left behind (where it was cut from) is the negative space. Use both pieces in the collage.
pick out pieces to help tell your child's story

Pick out which pieces can help to tell the story.

glue shapes to cardstock to make your Matisse art project for kids

Glue the shapes onto a solid piece of card stock. Combine different colors, different shapes and the negative space cut-outs too.

Hang up the artwork. Encourage your child to tell her story, pointing out the different elements in her collage!

Famous Artists Projects for Kids

Erica Loop is a mom, parenting writer and educator with an MS in child development. When she's not teaching, she's busy writing kids' activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, TwitterGoogle+, and Instagram.

Beth Gorden
Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.