I am so eager to share this collaborative class art project for preschool. Usually, when my little helpers and I make something, it only takes a few minutes. This is a longer-term project, but it is well worth the time. One of the foundations of Anti-Bias education is to have pride in yourself and your social identity while recognizing the validity and pride others have in their identities. What that looks like in preschool is a lot of little things, from learning to speak up for yourself and others to sharing family rituals and funds of knowledge. Use art projects like this one that celebrates the diversity in the self-portraits in your classroom all together to create a community of wonderful individuals. This activity is a great self-portrait project for an All About Me unit. This could easily be done with families too and would make a great send home project.
Preschool Art: Self-Portraits
Gather your materials. You will need some painter’s tape, mini canvases (found ours at Walmart), a larger blank canvas, paint pens, tempera paint, and paintbrushes.
First, have your students use the paint pens to draw self-portraits. As you can see a few don’t look human, that’s FINE. Resist the urge to “fix” anything; these are perfectly rad portraits of how they view themselves at whatever stage they are at.
I love how much thought was put into this by my helpers, ranging in age from newly three to seven.
After the portraits were done, I let the little artists go to town on the larger canvas with paint pens and paint.
I loved the layers. No one complained that their picture was wrecked. It was just a fun group process.
Once dried, we carefully painted over the portraits with tempera paint and then wiped off with paper towels.
Then mounted them on the dry larger canvas to display.
I could not be happier with how our wonderful individuals all came together to make a communal, collaborative art project! What a great community building activity.
Check out these wonderful books about diversity to share with your students before and after making this amazing project!
Also if you want to learn more about why developing a sense of pride in your students is vital for a peaceful classroom read all about it here.
Incorporate this project into a full All About Me unit plan with our printable preschool lesson plans that do the planning for you!
Love this!! What gorgeous creations!
Victoria Boreyko says
Just to clarify you painted with the tempera paints right over the paint pen portraits? What a great class project!
Allison McDonald says
Yes but only leave them on there a few moments before dabbing/ wiping them with a paper towel, the paint pens will show through.
Victoria Boreyko says
Are the paint pens oil based? Or acrylic?