5 Frida Kahlo Art Project & Lesson Ideas for Kids for your Classroom
Let’s learn about famous artist Frida Kahlo! As well, I’m going to give you 5 Frida Kahlo art lesson ideas that you can use to create art projects with your students in your classroom. No matter if your kids are primary or elementary, middle school, or in high school, I have some amazing Frida Kahlo art project ideas that you can use and I will even give you links to Frida Kahlo art resource is that you can use this year in your classroom. Well, let’s dive into it.
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Who is Frida Kahlo and What did she do?
Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo, born to a German father and a Euro-American mother in July 1907 and she always enjoyed art from a very young age. She used to draw sketches and drawings in her notebook when she was very little. Although she never wanted to be an artist, life hit her very differently at a young age and circumstances became so out of control that she had to do it. She wanted to become a doctor when she was little so she got enrolled in Escuela National Preparatoria School, one of Mexico’s leading schools. She was a very intelligent girl and at the age of sixteen she knew how to speak English, Spanish and German.
In her senior year, she was travelling in a bus when she got hit by a trolley car and got seriously injured. This was the most devastating accident that altered her entire life. She went through 30 procedures and remained in the hospital for three months. This was the period when she started painting seriously and in 1926 she completed her first self-portrait painting.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who is known for her self-portraits and vibrant colors. Most of her paintings or almost all of them reflected pain and suffering. She is also celebrated in Mexico for her attention and representation of Mexican and indigenous culture and among feminists.
Magical realism and surrealism was very much reflected in her work. So in this regard, Kahlo is considered as one of the symbols of hope, power, women empowerment and strength.
As we know, Kahlo was best known for self-portraits. She created around 200 artworks; among them 143 were paintings from which 55 were self-portraits. When she was asked about why she focuses on self-portraits, she replied, “Because I am so often alone… Because I am the subject I know best”.
In 1946, she was awarded National Prize of Arts and Sciences by Ministry of Public Education, because while she was in hospital, she also painted biological images and thus got related to science. Her painting “Self-portrait with thorns in necklace and hummingbird” is her best and widely celebrated work so far.
She got a lung failure and died at the age of 47 but even when she was very sick, she arrived at her first exhibition in an ambulance. He work has since been inspirational to many even after her passing.
IMPORTANCE OF ART MAKING:
Art can be a form of escapism, reflection, and a way of understanding and managing emotions. It allows you to look inward and discover that which lies within and is out of reach from the surface. This is why it is important it is for us to teach arts to our kids along with such artists that are truly an inspiration for all of us and teach us the lessons and tools we need to learn to deal with life. A lot of kids can be inspired from artists such as Frida Kahlo and can see themselves in her. So let’s look at 5 ideas for Frida Kahlo Art Lessons for Kids!
5 FRIDA KAHLO ART LESSON IDEAS FOR KIDS:
1) Primary Frida Kahlo Directed Drawings
So the first idea I have is that if you are teaching primary students either kindergarten, grade one, grade 2, or grade 3 then you can definitely do directed drawings either of a Frida Kahlo artwork or a Frida Kahlo portrait with your students. Now I often think that a lot of Frida Kahlo artworks and the subject matter that she covers is a little bit too hard for younger students to understand or might not be appropriate but you could definitely teach about Frida Kahlo and her life in an age appropriate way and talk about her culture and just how she is an influence to others even today and then you can show maybe a couple artworks of hers or find some art that would be appropriate for that age put it together in a presentation and then show it to your students. Afterward ,you can create or a directed drawing artwork with those primary students. Now sometimes we think that directed drawings are to be done just with pencils or crayons or a choice art making medium, but you definitely can use any art mediums so you could even do a directed drawing with oil pastels and then have kids paint in the portrait with watercolor paints. And this would be a lovely and fun way to introduce Frida Kahlo to your primaries.
2) Self-Portraits inspired by the Art Making Style of Frida Kahlo
Now if you have older students so either elementary or you could even do this with middle school or even high school for that matter, you can do self-portraits inspired by the art making style of Frida Kahlo. So you can teach your students about Frida Kahlo again age appropriate, and you can show different artworks that she is created, and then you can explain what style of art making she created with and what movement that her artworks fit into. You can talk to your kids about surrealism and how this art is both realistic but also is surreal and dreamlike and that her self-portraits really were surrealist artworks.
You can also discuss with your kids and create class brainstorms or have group conversations at each table and maybe they can even have like a full-sized anchor chart paper and they can collaboratively come up with some different key details or similarities between all her artworks and her style of art making that makes her art stand out from other artists. This way you can ask critique style questions to your students such as: what do you notice about her work, what what things do you notice in her paintings, what kind of marks does she make on her paintings with her paintbrush, is it realistic or abstract, what kind of other elements do you notice in the artwork around the portrait, what’s the first thing you notice in the painting, are her portraits realistic or are there other things going on, what colors do your notice, what do you see?
Have kids discuss for a while, maybe set a timer for 15 minutes and in that 15 minutes they write as much as they can. Have each kid pick one color of felt marker to write with and they just start writing. Have kids record all the different things they notice about Frida Kahlo’s artwork and her style of artmaking, and her style of mark making. After that, you can explain to kids that they are now going to create their own self-portrait, so a portrait of themselves but in this the style of Frida Kahlo, and it’s their job to think about the different elements that she’s included into her in her own portraits and how they are going to add that to their own art designs. I would definitely suggest that you take a picture of each of your students they can pose with a very Frida Kahlo-esque expression on their face and then you can print them off just even on the photo copier just so they have it as a reference image while they create.
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3) Frida Kahlo Cartoon-Styled Portrait
Alright so next you could do a portrait inspired by the Frida Kahlo artwork the floral frame and for this artwork you can do kind of more of a fun cartoon style Frida Kahlo and then surround it with the floral frame. This would be a fun activity that you could do with oil pastels and watercolor paints and just really have fun with creating Frida Kahlo artworks in a kid friendly way. You could definitely teach about the artist and then create a portrait of her after looking at some pictures online or in books of Frida Kahlo. Once kids have learned about Frida Kahlo and you’ve taught them some artworks of hers and a little bit about her life and her importance in the art world, then you can reinforce that knowledge of who Frida Kahlo is by creating a fun a portrait of her inspired by her works the floral frame. This is a bright and fun art project, and you can find this art project in my TeachersPayTeachers store or with your Artastic Collective membership in the Frida Kahlo bundle when it is released to you. As always, all the links will be in the podcast show notes which you can find at my blog or in the description of this episode.
4) Frida Kahlo “Self-Portrait with Thorns and Hummingbird Necklace”
Alright so for upper elementary middle school or even high school you could definitely teach and create art inspired by Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait with thorns and Hummingbird necklace. This is one of her most famous artworks and is super inspirational. However, it is kind of dark. Depending on the age of the students you might want to adjust the artwork so of course we’re making inspired by artworks so I would remove the thorns and blood potentially and just have a necklace with a Hummingbird if your audience or your students are just not ready for that yet. However, if you have older students and your school culture allows it definitely show the original artwork talk about creating it and be inspired by it and if they’re old enough they can and it’s OK then you can include the thorns and the blood and that pain or again, just exclude it from the kid’s version of the work. I love this artwork, it’s super powerful and I love the flora behind her and all the beautiful animals and creatures that are included in the work. I have created this as an art lesson that is again part of my teacherspayteachers store or part of the Artastic Collective Frida Kahlo bundle.
5) Fruit Still Life inspired by Frida Kahlo
Another fun way to create art inspired by Frida Kahlo without depicting the portraits of pain and suffering would be to create art inspired by some of her fruit still life works. These artworks typically show tropical fruit because of where she’s from in the world and I think it’s a great way to look at Mexican culture and Frida Kahlo without including some of the more painful scenes. That being said I would definitely still teach about Frida Kahlo her life her style of creating and all that jazz and then you can also show some of the different kinds of art she created, and one of those styles would be the fruit still lives that she created. These are this is a fun idea that you can create with a range of different mediums, you could explore with wax crayons, or oil pastels, or paints. Although I don’t have a resource for this in my teacherspayteachers store, there is a fruit still life art lesson inspired by Frida Kahlo’s artworks that is included with your Artastic Collective Frida Kahlo bundle that you’ll get with your membership when the Frida Kahlo bundle is released to your Artastic Collective library. Otherwise, I highly suggest creating an art lesson on the style of still lives that Frida Kahlo created as it’s a great way to teach both still life artworks but also about Frida Kahlo all in one go.
Alright my friends I hope this inspires you to start creating some Frida Kahlo art works with your students in your classroom. For all the links to the resource is I mentioned in my teacherspayteachers store visit my podcast show notes at MsArtastic.com or you can head on over to my teacherspayteachers store, Ms Artastic, and click the Artists and Art History tab or category on the left-hand side of my store and then scroll through there and look for Frida Kahlo or even you can even try searching Frida Kahlo in my teacherspayteachers store and find them there.
I truly hope you are inspired to create some Frida Kahlo art with your students and teach about Frida Kahlo to your students. Just be really true and honest with them about her life and how she used her art as just a beautiful means of reflection and expression and a way to truly understand herself. Explain to students that they can take this concept and apply it to their own artmaking or when they are creating their sketchbook and use it as a way for deep mindful reflection.
I’m Kathleen McGiveron, Ms Artastic, Signing off.
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Kathleen McGiveron (Ms Artastic)
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