Starry Night Preschool Project

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If you’re looking for a fun process art project to do this spring break, consider a reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. If your preschooler is like mine and wants the facts, you can let them know:
  • Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853.
  • He painted Starry Night from his window in France.
  • Van Gogh painted more than 20 variations of Starry Night, but never felt like he got it quite right.
There are so many talking points about Van Gogh’s work. I started by showing my daughter a picture of the original painting and asked her:
  • What she thought of the painting (“I like the colors and the wooshing lines.”)
  • What she saw (moon, swirly clouds, stars, “big black thing,” etc.)
  • The colors she noticed (blue, white, yellow, black, “darkness”)

Art Time

If your little one is less about the facts and more about the fun, get started with the project right away. Van Gogh was known for working with thick oil paint and using bold brush strokes. In preschool terms, I pictured this to be globs of finger paint swirled together.

Materials

  • White paper or canvas
  • Washable paint (blue, white, yellow)
  • Smock
  • Black paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Process

I wanted this project to be more about exploring the artist’s style of painting and less about making the perfect reproduction. To start, I let my daughter drop several big globs of blue paint onto her paper. She had fun swirling them around like Van Gogh’s painting. We let that dry for a minute and then she added a few globs of white paint to swirl together. This was a fun lesson in how the white lightened up the blue color.

After the paint dried for a few minutes, she added some yellow paint. At first she was calling each blob a sun, then she started to think they might be stars or even the moon.

While that dried, my daughter looked a little closer at the original painting and talked about the “big black thing,” which is actually a Cyprus tree. She drew a picture of it on black paper and cut it out. Once her painting was dry, she glued it on top.

There are so many details in the original painting if you wanted to dig deeper – buildings, hills, and more. It could be fun to use materials from around your house to enhance the art – stickers, tinfoil, etc.

To wrap up the exploration of Starry Night, we watched a Katie and the Starry Night book reading on YouTube. My daughter loved how the book made the art come to life.

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