Monet, Picasso, Renoir… I’m sure all of these artists must have started by painting with their moms when they were young. While that may or may not be true, your children will certainly feel like world famous artists with the idea I’m sharing today. This festive and fun Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft uses paint to teach your toddler, small child or kid how yellow and red combine to make orange.
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I love painting and making crafts with my two young boys. Have you ever tried painting with your child? It can be really fun if you don’t mind a little mess. It also requires a lot of patience, but is a great way to teach your children about colors. This Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft is perfect for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary aged kids. They’ll get a chance to see how red and yellow combine to make orange. They’ll also get to practice drawing and using scissors. When it’s all done, they’ll have a whimsical Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft to proudly show off on the fridge. Little artists also love when you display their masterpiece as a work of art on the wall.
How to Make the Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft
What you need:
- Red washable tempera paint
- Yellow washable tempera paint
- Construction paper
- Paint brushes (Thicker brushes work best, but any paint brushes will do.)
- Paint palette or small containers (Tip: an old egg carton would work great as a paint palette.)
- Glue and/or tape (I recommend creating a glue sponge for crafting with kids.)
1. Put paint in the palette. Pour small amounts of yellow and red paint in your paint palette. Keep some empty space between the colors in the palette so your child has room to mix paints. I even let C2, our 1 1/2 year old get into the paint this time. Thankfully, the Crayola paints are also non-toxic, since the first thing he did was put the brush full of paint in his mouth! I also really love how easy it is to wash the Crayola tempera paints off clothes, hands, tables and floors.
2. Teach your child how to make orange paint. Talk to your child about how you can mix two different colors together to form an entirely new color. Use your paintbrush to combine the colors in an empty spot in the palette. While your child is painting, you can also demonstrate how they can paint yellow on top of red or vice versa to create orange directly on the paper. This was the best part of the whole activity for our boys.
3. Paint on the paper. Encourage your child to paint a large orange circle or oval on white construction paper or cardstock. We were having so much fun with this activity we decided to paint several pieces of paper. The goal is to make as large of an orange circle as they can, but there really aren’t any rules. With children, it’s more important to let them be creative than it is to have it look a certain way.
4. Let your paintings thoroughly dry. We left ours overnight and came back to finish the Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft the next day.
5. Draw a circle and cut out your pumpkins. If your child is a toddler or not skilled with scissors yet, you may need to do this part of the Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft. My son, C1, is four and needs to practice using child safe scissors so I had him cut a large circle with my supervision. I find that small children often prefer to have a line to follow when cutting, so you or your child can draw a large circle or oval on the orange painting. In the end, C1’s cut out pumpkins weren’t perfect, but that just adds to the whimsy of the Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft.
6. Draw and cut out a Halloween Jack O’Lantern face. Next, I had C1 draw a face with pencil on the back of the orange circle. I used my scissors to cut the face out for him since it required more advanced cutting skills than he has at his age.
7. Add a green stem and yellow “light” to your Halloween Jack O’Lantern. I had C1 find a small piece of green construction paper in our scrap bin from previous projects. He used his scissors to create a stem for the pumpkin.
I also had him find a medium sized piece of yellow construction paper to be the “light” inside the Jack O’Lantern. I had him glue both pieces to his pumpkin, the green stem on the front and the yellow “light” on the back. You’ll see in the picture, my son is using a glue sponge. My cousin who’s an art teacher taught me how a glue sponge makes it easier for toddlers and little kids to glue small pieces of paper without getting glue everywhere. See our instructions to create your own glue sponge for more information.
8. Glue the pumpkin to black construction paper. Now glue the Halloween Jack O’Lantern to black construction paper. The dark paper acts as the night sky in the background. Allow the paper to dry completely.
9. Repeat with any remaining pumpkins. I mentioned earlier that we painted multiple large orange circles. I asked C1 if he wanted to cut the rest of those out and make them into Jack O’Lanterns too. He’d lost interest by that point and didn’t want to do another one. I need four pieces of art to display on our wall, though, so as an alternative, I suggested he draw a jack o’lantern face on the remaining ones.
As soon as C2, our younger son, saw that his brother had markers, of course, he wanted back in his seat to create art too.
10. Display your fine art. You’re now ready to proudly display your Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft! We have frames on the wall in our art room where we like to put our paintings. The ones you see on the upper right and lower left in the photo below are just empty black frames that I got at Michaels. There are two small nails in the wall within the frames. Small binder clips hang from the nails to display our art. I got the other two frames at Target a while back. The front of those frames opens so you can easily swap out artwork when you create something new. Of course, you could also tack your paintings up on your fridge or a corkboard.
There you have it – an easy Halloween Jack O’Lantern Craft! I’m sure Picasso got his start like this too, don’t you think? Have you tried a painting project like this with your kids? If so, please comment below and tell us what their favorite part of painting is.
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