6 Matisse Art Projects For Kids

Collage Art Projects Inspired by Henri Matisse

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This week I introduced my Primary school students to the creative mind of Henri Matisse. I actually really enjoyed going over his work, life, and story in preparation for teaching this week. I needed a good brush up and this was a great way to follow last weeks lessons on positive and negative shapes. Year groups 1 to 6 made artwork inspired by his famous pieces. I made a PowerPoint specifically for each Year group where I pulled Matisse art examples that were related to their art activity. I told them his story and fed them useful information about him that they could use while creating. I was so unbelievably happy about how much they remembered about him and his work in the following week when I asked them. So happy! Is there anything greater than seeing how much someone has learned from your teaching? I don’t think there is. Anyway, here’s what we did:

YEAR 1  | 5-6 yrs 


“The Snail”
I made a short PowerPoint of Matisse and his work. I told them his story and introduced them to “The Snail’ Collage by Matisse. Then I showed them the video of the story book “How Mootisse Met Pigasso” on Youbtube. While they watched this I prepared their tables with poster paper and coloured squares. They were to recreate their own snail, including a snail head and face. Once finished, they completed a Connect The Dots of a Snail that they could then name and colour. Connect The Dots are great way for young children to practice their numbers and fine motor skills in drawing.

What You’ll Need:
Large A3 Paper Cut into a square
Coloured Paper / Gummed paper
Glue Sticks
Snail Connect The Dots (Optional)

YEAR 2 | 6-7 yrs

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Year 2 and 3 also got to watch “How Mootisse Met Pigasso” but they where to recreate their own Matisse picture using his signature shapes of coloured paper. Most of them just made their own shapes that had nothing to do Matisse. But that’s ok too, at least they explored their creativity while still learning about a new artist.

What You’ll Need:
Black card stock cut into 5″x 12″ strips
Coloured paper
Tissue paper
Glue Sticks

YEAR 3 | 7-8 yrs

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After the video, they made their own “Triangle Art” with coloured squares and black triangles. Most of them did whatever they wanted with the shapes. After this project was completed I gave them my Matisse Colour By Numbers activity sheet for the remaining minutes of class. My students really love these sheets! Sometimes they ask for art homework! (I know, I can’t believe it either)

What You’ll Need:
A5 Black paper
Coloured paper
Glue sticks
Matisse Activity Sheet (Optional)

YEAR 4 | 8-9 yrs

“Creole Dancers”
They made Creole Dancers from construction paper. First we laid and glued our background in blocks. Next week we’ll make our dancer out of black paper and add details and clothes. It took them a while to understand that the background comes first.

What You’ll Need:
Coloured Construction paper
Black paper
Glue sticks

YEAR 5 | 9-10 yrs

“Matisse Notan Designs”
We played around with positive and negative again this week, but used paper to cut shapes and mirror the positive shape with the negative shape. Some could not grasp the concept of not cutting up the negative part of the paper. I guess they are so used to cutting out a shape and throwing out the rest. But when they got it. They got it!

What You’ll Need: 
Coloured paper
Black Paper
(Tip: the paper you’re making the designs from should be cut into a square)
Glue Sticks

YEAR 6 | 10-11 yrs

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“Matisse Name Posters”
They made name posters using signature Matisse shapes, plus their names in block letters.

What You’ll Need:
A5 paper
Colour paper
Glue sticks

And that’s it! I can’t say these projects were all successful, but the kids seem to have fun getting stuck into collage projects. And I’m so proud that they learned a new artist and actually were able to remember his story! One thing I need to drill into their heads though, and these projects help with this, is the idea that a background always comes first, especially when collaging. They always seem to cut all their front pieces first before they’ve even laid a background despite my clear and repeated instruction! But alas, next week we’ll finish up with Matisse before moving onto Picasso!

Free Printable!

matissepbnDownload this Free Matisse Colour By Numbers Printable to perfectly compliment any of these lessons. These printables are great for when kids finish early while still keeping them on topic.



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