The Starry Night is one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous works. The rolling waves of night-blue sky, the texture, the stars! It’s the perfect piece to teach your child about the artist, while exploring through the senses and even learning about outer space.
What kid doesn’t love finger painting?
And, what parent doesn’t cringe at the mess it creates? This Van Gogh-themed art activity lets
your little artist ‘paint’ a Starry Night masterpiece – minus the major mess-making! How? With clay.
That’s right – your child is going to use clay to create a textured ‘finger paint’ process. As she’s ‘painting’ with the clay, she’s building fine motor skills and exploring through the sense of touch.
Van Gogh Starry Night Art Project for Kids
Before starting with the art, take some time to look at the real Starry Night. Okay, maybe not the real thing. But, at least a reproduction (you can find plenty of copies in art history books or online). Ask your child a few open-ended questions to get her thinking, such as:
As your child begins to talk about the painting, point out the stars as a springboard to talking about outer space. Name a few stars or constellations, having your child create her own celestial objects in her own work of art.
Starry Night Art Project
- Cut the cardboard into a square or rectangle. This will become the base that your child builds the artwork on.
- Pull the clay apart into dime-sized pieces.
- Draw a town at the bottom of the cardboard with the markers or oil pastels. Your child can make the town look like Van Gogh’s village, re-create your own hometown or make her own magical imaginary place. Use this as a chance to sneak in some math – having your child create geometric shapes for the houses and buildings.
- ‘Finger Paint’ a starry night sky onto the cardboard, above the town. Encourage your child to layer the clay on top of the cardboard and on top of other colors. It will stick as she smears it onto the board. She can use her fingers to make swirls, curves and textures in the clay.
- Create a tree for the foreground (use this vocabulary word with your child, describing the front of the painting). Cut the tree from the dark construction paper. Glue it onto the board. It will overlap the clay and the town drawing partially.
Now your child can create her own Starry Night tale. Ask her to tell you a story about the town or about the stars in the sky!