Henri Matisse Art Projects for Kids


This post contains affiliate links. I was given access to the class to blog about it.

Several years ago, my kids took an online art class, where each week we focused on a different famous artist. It was called Mixing with the Masters. We created three different works of art for each famous artist:

  1. Da Vinci
  2. Rembrandt
  3. Monet
  4. Van Gogh
  5. Picasso
  6. O’Keeffe

Well, now Alisha (the art instructor) has come up with Mixing with the Masters: Volume 2, including six more famous artists. We will be focusing on our favorite three artists in this series, but you are welcome to do all six. When you’re in high school, SAT preparation and essay writing take precedence over classical art. (Sniff…) Today I would like to show you the artwork we did when we studied Henri Matisse, who was a colorful artist.

Woman with a Hat Pastel Painting

The first work of art that we created was with oil pastel crayons. Alisha provides a template to make it easier to begin with the shape of the woman with a flamboyant hat. My daughter has a sense of humor and drew a Chiquita banana hat on top of this woman. You can click the picture to see the hat better. It’s the one in the middle: the woman with the pineapple, grapes, and bananas.


It seems like Matisse just randomly splashed color around. The style of art reminds me of Picasso. Even the background of the picture has disjointed colors like a modern art stained glass window. The black outlines help to define the shape of the woman to distinguish her from the background of the piece.


I love how Alisha gives background information about each artist, why they painted the way they did, and whether they fit into the art culture of the time period. It’s really a brief study of history as well as a study of classical art techniques.

Goldfish Gouache Painting

Alisha introduced us to gouache painting, which is similar to watercolors but with more intense pigments. I like stronger, bolder colors anyway, so this was fun to do. The goldfish are in a bowl on top of a table surrounded by plants outside on a patio.


Once again, the black color defines the shape of the table and makes a good background for the fishbowl. I like how the goldfish are reflected on the top of the water.


You can print out a picture of the original artwork from Alisha’s course, so that you can see the colors that Matisse used in the painting. You don’t have to paint it all in one day. We listened to Billy Joel while painting this picture. My son Nathaniel chose to play “The Piano Man” in his last piano recital, and he was able to listen carefully to the song while painting this fishbowl. Art and music go together, and it puts us in a good mood for painting, not that the song has anything to do with fish.

Sorrows of the King Drawing with Scissors

Alisha provides a template that you can print out with the shapes of this colorful collage of a Biblical scene of David playing the harp for King Saul. My son chose to make the “frog man” on the left out of camouflage paper. You can see for yourself (clicking on the picture below, third piece) whether the “frog man” has disappeared. My daughter chose girly pink flower paper for part of the background. You can play with different colors and textures if you want.


For each layer that you add to this collage, you will need to use Mod Podge. It’s pretty messy, so make sure to use newspaper under your work. We also used old paintbrushes from when the kids were toddlers, so that they could throw the brushes away when they were finished with the project.


We enjoyed doing these colorful projects for this famous artist. If you would like to grab this set of classes for your own kids, you can get them here. Stay tuned for the next artist in our series!

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11 Responses to “Henri Matisse Art Projects for Kids”

  1. Maryann says:

    This is great! I am saving this to do this with my children. I went to several impressionist and other artist exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago when I was in Middle and High School as well as college. My children have missed out since we move a lot and don’t have access to as many museums. This is encouraging to engage them with some things I got to when I was their age. Thank you.

    • Susan says:

      Classical art is a part of a good education. My kids are learning not only the techniques to do better art (creativity), but they are also learning history.

  2. This looks so awesome! Definitely something for my kids to do when they get older. Do they offer anything for toddlers?

  3. Since I live near D.C. I go to the Art Museum as often as I can because I love Art and all the techniques. I feel so blessed to learn the History about the portrait and the ability to see the originals. What a beautiful thing to share with your children.

    • Susan says:

      How cool to be able to see the originals on so many pieces of classical art! I lived in London, England for a couple of years and loved having access to art museums.

  4. Heather Hart says:

    Wow, Susan! These are amazing! My mother-in-law has been doing art projects with my kids, and I might have to share this with her.

  5. JJ says:

    I soooo love this! I teach in an art co-op with kids from ages 6-10. Love the ideas and the music incorporation. Thanks!!!

  6. Thara says:

    I love to do art. I try to teach a fun art class once a week at least in order to help my small child to learn the basic art skills and techniques. Today we worked very hard on a plain cardboard box in our family art lesson. I showed her how to colour in a few pictures of bunnies and eggs. Then I demonstrated the cutting out technique with a new pair of scissors in question. After lunch I taught her how to stick them up all on the box. It was billed as a dose of great free occupational therapy for her at the same time. We simply covered that entire box. It was a lot of fun.
    You can also buy decent art supplies easily these days as well. Poundland now happen to sell a range of items. Alternatively you can try to see if you can find free art catalogues online too. I know that you can borrow a lot of nice books on teaching art to children in addition. I recommend making some brief summary notes. If you are at a art museum or art event you can pick up some amazing art and craft items. Have fun.
    Good luck. Take a close and careful look at Amazon and visit local stores to find options. Or you can ask family and friends for more ideas and tips. I advise using the town library as a another good source of information.

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