Last Updated on January 17, 2023
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Online Drawing Lessons for Kids
When I was a kid, way back in the dark ages, there were no online art lessons for kids. You could take art classes for kids at school or camp. Period.
If you were lucky at the library, you could find a kids’ art magazine or book that showed you how to create fun art projects. I still have a “How to Draw Cats” book that I distinctly remember getting one year at the book fair at school.
And that was it. We were really limited. I always REALLY wanted a “project”, that’s what I used to tell my mom, “I need to make something!”, I ‘d say on the weekend and all summer long. In some ways, that makes you get creative. But as a child, I also needed some inspiration and little guidance. I wanted to learn how to use new art materials and be inspired by fun projects.
But since there was no internet, there were no art websites for kids. And those handful of books from the library were just not enough. Now that I see what I was missing, oh boy, kids these days have no idea how lucky they are! So many fun ideas, and tutorials and online art classes for kids!
So today I’m putting together a list of websites with online art lessons for kids because this is a resource I wish I had for my own kids. These are all sites that show your child how to draw or make something on their own. These are websites where your child can explore different arts and crafts topics and techniques in one safe place. And they’re websites with tons of artistic ideas and inspiration and fun in a kid-appropriate setting. These websites also all have their own content (they’re not roundups or listicles) so your child won’t accidentally be clicking all over the internet.
This is not a list of individual kids’ art projects ideas like you’d see on Pinterest, it’s not a list of art apps where you make digital art on the computer, and it’s not art “lesson plans” for homeschool or art teachers.
Because the internet is a big, weird, and sometimes scary place, these are art websites for kids that I feel comfortable letting my 8 year old navigate on his own, with me nearby, but not staring over his shoulder every single second.
I’m pretty picky about internet safety so hopefully this will be helpful to a lot of you parents out there!
TIPS & TRICKS FOR FINDING SAFE ART WEBSITES FOR KIDS
- Draw or do art projects WITH your kids! It’s fun and that way you can really check out a new website yourself before you let your child use it.
- Stay in the room. Kids are curious and kids also accidentally click on things they don’t mean to. The only way to be 100% sure they are safe on the internet is to supervise them.
- Check out all the tabs and the ABOUT tab on new websites. If the site talks about being designed specifically for kids, and if it’s run by an actual person and not some faceless entity, you can feel a bit more secure that your child won’t stumble on anything weird.
- Proceed to YouTube with CAUTION. Although there are many great ones, I am not recommending any art YouTube channels, because, in my opinion, YouTube can be both totally wonderful…and totally awful. And you have zero control over what’s going to show up in “up next” or the related videos section on the side. If you’re willing/able to subscribe to YouTube Kids that’s great, but I know that with all the seven million services we all pay for already, another one might not be in the budget. If possible, watch YouTube videos embedded in another websites instead of clicking through. And if you do choose an art lesson YouTube channel, stay nearby while your child is using it.
- Keep in mind that most ads on websites across the internet are served to a browser based on YOUR search and browser history and browsers can get info from cookies across accounts on all your devices. That’s why if you search meal planning kits on your phone with your browser login, you’re going to start seeing meal planning kit ads on your laptop and your tablet too. Most ad networks allow site owners like me to have some control to turn off certain kinds of ads, but we can’t control everything. So if you want to keep ads appropriate, keep your own searching and browsing kid-friendly too. I don’t want to assume anything about y’all, but this is something I’ve found that many people don’t know. (Oh, and PS, around birthdays and holidays, DON’T search for whatever you’re getting for your kids or they’ll start seeing ads for that too!
FUN AND SAFE ONLINE ART LESSONS FOR KIDS
- ArtForKidsHub – This is our number #1 all-time favorite art website for kids. This site has hundreds of how-to art videos, mostly drawing videos, but some painting, sculpture and even origami. It’s super engaging for kids, Mr. Hub and his family do the drawings themselves on camera so you get to see his version and the child’s version. And they draw everything from everyday objects to your kids’ favorite video game or movie characters. O has spent has spent hours on this site. The paid membership is optional and not really necessary.
- Drawing Now – O actually heard about this art website for kids from a friend. It’s also got tons of drawing videos for kids but, I think it solves one of the problems that some other art websites for kids have…it allows you watch the drawing video step by step! You click a button to see each little segment of the drawing get drawn so you can really go at your own speed.
- Mr. Printables – I’m obsessed with Mr. Printables, these fun printable craft projects for kids are amazingly cute. Your child might need a little help with the actual printing, but these fun projects are easy and adorable.
- Art Projects for Kids – This cute site is run by an art teacher and has all kinds of fun art projects for kids. There are lots of drawing lessons but also cardboard crafts, weaving, paper mache, even ceramics! You can even browse art projects by grade level or by medium.
- Artful Parent – Click on the “Arts and Crafts Activities” dropdown tab at the top to get to all of the great art projects and crafts for kids that this blogger’s got listed. These are good, creative tutorials. This site is definitely on our summer bucket list!
- TinkerLab – This cute site leans more towards art experiences rather than straight how-to tutorials but, that’s great! The projects are more about the artistic method and artistic experimentation that producing a specific finished product. None of the art projects require unusual or hard to find supplies and they’re easy enough for kids to do on their own.
- Art Bar – Run by a former graphic designer, current art teacher, this site has tons of fun art projects. The posts are technically written for parents to present the project for kids, but they’re easy enough that an older elementary aged child can follow on their own. Bonus points for easy supply lists and step by step photos!
- Red Ted Art – If your child needs a little more guidance and prefers very specific art projects where their version will come out looking like the example, this site is full of cute ideas. They even have a kids’ origami section!
- Step By Step Painting – You know those places that are super popular right now where you go with a bunch of friends and they teach you how to make a canvas painting while you drink wine? Well this blogger had the brilliant idea do step by step canvas painting tutorials online and she has a great section of step by step paintings for kids! Older kids can probably handle many of her regular painting tutorials as well!
- Sculpey – If your kids are into Polymer clay, I’m going to send you straight to the Sculpey website, they have TONS of project ideas, each with easy to follow step by step photos. The website is easy to navigate and safe for kids.
I tried my best to be pretty picky when choosing the sites for this list, they had to have unique ideas, be geared towards kids instead of parents or teachers, and be safe for kids to navigate themselves. If you think of site that fits those criteria and would fit on this list of fun free and safe online art lessons for kids, let me know!
What is step-by-step drawing and why do we teach it ?
Also known as directed or guided drawing, it is a process where children (and adults) are provided with step-by-step instructions to help them draw a picture of a specific thing.
Many children arrive at school in September and draw with great confidence but there are always some who say they don’t know how to draw and are reluctant to try.
Some kids are upset when they compare their results with their peers. As a result, I recommend teaching two kinds of drawing to children – drawing by observation and step-by-step drawing.
Teaching children to draw by a step-by-step drawing process has a number of purposes:
- to increase children’s confidence
- to teach children to follow directions
- to increase directional and spatial vocabulary
- to introduce vocabulary about a new topic
- to have fun drawing
Drawing what you see…
Don’t get me wrong. I am a keen advocate of teaching children to observe closely what’s in front of them, such as a feather or a shell and then attempt to recreate it with lines, shapes, textures and colors. Learning to draw by observation is a valuable skill for kids and is explained briefly in the “Recording your observations” section of the science center page.
But for kids who need an immediate confidence boost, I use the process of step-by-step drawing which is explained below.
Teaching step-by-step drawing
- Whiteboard or large paper clipped to the wall that all kids can see
- Large newsprint paper for each child
- A large felt marker for each child
Step One: Teach one shape
- To begin with, I put a dot in the center of my and each child’s paper with a red felt.
- The dot helps the children understand the term the “middle of the page” or the “center of the page”.
- Explain to the kids that you are going to make some marks on your paper and that when you’re finished, you want them to copy them on their papers.
- Don’t assume that your students have a well-developed directional and spatial vocabulary.
- Keep the students who lack confidence close to the front so you can quickly show them where to put their felts or guide their hands.
- For each step-by-step drawing lesson give the children scrap newsprint paper and tell them that this paper is for practice and they can throw it in the recycling after if they want to.
- Give the children one feltmarker only, a brown, blue, green, or purple so that it shows up on their paper.
- Using felts keeps the children from constantly trying to erase.
At the end of the drawing steps, let those who want to color their pictures, use crayons, as the lines of the felt markers will not get covered up by crayons.
Start with tornadoes!
- On one side of the paper teach the children how to of make a circle.
- First let them put their arm in the air and go around and around and around.
- Then have them make a tornado on their paper by going around and around and around.
- Ask them to go around big, then smaller, then tiny.
- Model this on your paper before each size.
Step 2: Make page divisions
- Ask the children to turn their paper over.
- Although I can make the page divisions more neatly myself, I get the children to make them as it teaches them to organize their pages.
- Say slowly as you show them….
“Put your felt at the top of your page above the red dot and draw a line right through the red dot in the middle of the page and all the way to the bottom.”
Walk around and help all children do this. When all have completed the first step…“Draw a line from one side of your paper through the red dot all the way to the other side. Now you have 4 boxes to draw in (Show them, don’t assume the children will perceive boxes and not a cross in the middle of their page). We will draw a step by step picture in each box.”
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