Integrating art projects into classroom themes.

August 13, 2020

8.13.2020 Art and Opportunities

Participation in art projects presents opportunities. Opportunities to see things in new and exciting ways, to work with new mediums, to engage with others – or by ourselves – within the art process and most of all to create! Creating is one of the things that sets us (human beings) apart from the other creatures of this planet.

Our classrooms have had several wonderful themes this summer. Classroom themes bring together academic and content areas such as literacy, math, science and social studies. Art is a way to bind these subjects and more together for better understanding and engagement.

Room 4’s Ocean Theme has given children lots to do. They’ve been adding projects all summer long. Here, below, we have some glimpses for you from their Jellyfish project. For this, they applied tissue paper to contact paper to create a multiple-colors collage. Then a bit of scissory created a final product. The videos show the magic of the art process; during this session, children were captivated by the accidental spillage of tissue paper pieces, which floating once bore the need for repeating. The children made it happen again and again, loving the dancing sprinkling onto the floor.

By watching, or better, participating with the children, we all can learn more about the project at hand, the themes we’re exploring, and the way children learn. Art is a gift that we all can grow from.


6.24.2020 This has been an unusual year to say the least, but some things have managed to stay on point, and one of those things is the social interaction that is formed through an art experience. During the school year, Ms. Melissa, one of the teaching assistants in Room 14 has doodled with her students all year long. When she had to move to an online interaction strategy, she started sharing her doodles with the kids each week on their classroom Dojo. Here’s her last doodle of the year,celebrating all of the beautiful people who make up this class. Happy end of the 2019-20 school year Crossroads. Thanks Melissa for sharing your talent with us!

5.5.2020 Today, thanks to Mrs. Rebecca, Room 5’s teacher for sending this project in!

Hi Everyone! Today’s art/science project is super fun. I made a video for the YouTube Channel for you to follow along if you’d like. I hope you have fun watching the water colors move across the paper. If you don’t have water colors but have food coloring, add a few drops to a small amount of water to create your own!

Video link:

Rebecca Oliver, Early Childhood Teacher

4.22.2020 A Coloring Book to download.

While school closure continues, Crossroads continues to deliver individualized and group instruction to students, remotely.  Look through our site and social media channels for some of the awesome resources our team members are finding and sharing.

Mrs. Kelly, Executive Director received this one from a colleague, and shared it this morning. It is a coloring book for wearing masks created by It is like a social story and art project all in one.

Click to download it here: WearingaMaskColoringPages

The  Autism Little Learners site has lots of freebies and there are other coloring books that might also be useful!

4.9.2020 Make your own Art Supplies.

While children and parents are at home, our teachers and therapists are doubling down on efforts to provide learning activities that align with students’ individual and curricular goals. There are many art projects and sensory input activities that are being shared on our Facebook page.

This one comes from Ms. Jena, Room 4’s teacher. She writes, ” I know we are sharing a lot of projects and (activities) that require paints or markers and some parents don’t have those things so I found this. It may be an alternative that all parents would like to see!”

They are pictured here, and also ganged up on the attachment below, which you can print out. Thanks, Jena, for thoughtfully sharing these wonderful ideas from

Home-made supplies from


1.13.2020 An ARCTIC them is one that kids always love.

Can’t you just feel the icy breeze on your face, and hear the crunching of snow under your feet when you take in these chillastic projects created in classroom themes?

You’d think we were right in the Arctic!

Walking in the snow in your warm mittens, boots, hat and coat, meeting up with penguins and polar bears, and building snow people, along the way.

These are the types of images that come to mind for Winter for many people, and images the teachers in this classroom want their students to have in mind as well.

Looking at these masterpieces, you can see that the students got lots of practice of tactile and fine motor skills, opportunities for communication and interaction, and a reinforcing sensory experience too. Great job, everyone!

Help provide services to students with and without special learning needs!


12.31.19 A snowman craft gives students in room 7 an activity integrating art and language.

A theme of snow and winter gives students a host of activities to engage in to understand the uniqueness of the season as well as to learn about weather forms at a beginning level. Snowmen crafts are highly favored – children can translate the concept and teachers can integrate it with all subject areas as needed.

In Room 7 recently, a fun snowman project allowed students to build an ornament from a gathering of items, and to use words to talk about each step of the process.

One little boy is working on the language and conceptual understanding of hot vs. cold. Another has a goal of labeling parts of a body, so eyes, nose, arms and mouth became part of the conversation. All of the students were engaged with feeling the sensory attributes of the items in the making, such as the hardness of the paint stick, the shininess of the buttons and the softness of the scarf.

The class did a great job, not only with the project, but also with sitting and working together in a group. Important for school-readiness, students in this room are young. Some have never before been in a daycare or school setting! The gains they’ve made since starting the school year is huge. Kudos to all!

10.17.19  Children learn in an endless number of ways.

At Crossroads Center for Children, teachers and therapists are skillful at using multiple modalities to give their students plentiful opportunities to learn and practice the skills and concepts they need. Integrating Art with other subjects works well with children of all ages, because kids love being creative, just as much as teachers do.

Art projects are known to allow children of all abilities to access complex topics and concepts.

Engaging in art provides students with a connection to subjects and ideas, whether new or familiar. Art encourages attending, problem solving and spatial understandings.

Projects are fun, simply by virtue of being opportunities for creative expression. They’re also experiences filled with chances to build social interaction and school readiness.

At Crossroads, students have a chance to do all of this and at the same time to practice fine motor skills.

For example, learning to use a glue stick requires learning to remove the sometimes sticky cap, twist the bottom just the right amount and direction, press it to paper with the appropriate amount of pressure, put the paper to the surface as desired, and return the cap with similar expertise.

Grasping small morsels of black construction paper, which have been cut out as apple seeds and placing them in the correct area of the apple shape, takes a bit of spatial attention and develops understanding of  size and space, too.

Picking up a paint brush, wetting it, dipping it into the tiny spot of desired color on the watercolor palette, and applying that same brush to a certain area on a paper, is a sequence of skills which sometimes need to be isolated for teaching, especially with young children.


It’s important that we appreciate the finer details of teaching art skills, as much as the art of using such projects to bring alive the awesome themes that have to do with other subjects, apples, pumpkins, water and all of the themes being taught.

We’re so thankful for the grants and donations that we’ve been given to help with social skills development, since art projects are one of the areas where teachers and therapists can target social skills with students. Some examples of goals that students might have are sharing materials, passing items to one another, attending to a speaker (the teacher), showing one’s project to peers in a group, or even sitting in a group for increasing durations of time. Considering that the overwhelming majority of our preschool students have never been in a school setting before, there are so many skills that their teachers will shape over the course of the school year.

If you love the art projects that the students make here, be sure to follow us on Facebook where we share frequently!

12.3.18 Science and Art Meet Again

Here are just a couple of recent examples of high interest art projects that taught science concepts, too.

Here is a finger paint and collage project that Room 7 did recently. As you can see, the children made snowmen – melted ones. They’ve been learning about snow, and their art wall is currently full of snow flakes, snow globes and snowmen including melted snowmen. Learning about the water cycle, weather activities and the melting of snow are science concepts that are challenging in the abstract, yet graspable when introduced through a highly interesting art activity such as this.

Another clever activity was done in Room 4. Using wax crayons, the children colored their penguins. They then sprayed water on them. As they conducted this crayon resist art technique and experiment, they learned about the oily feathers that penguins have that helps keep them safe from cold and wind.  This serves as a basis of understanding how different animals are suited to live in different habitats.

A third example is found in Room 6’s recent pumpkin painting activity. Painting pumpkins is cool enough, but Room 6 took it a step further, and used mashed pumpkin to paint their trays with. The object was to describe the way the pumpkin feels to the touch, smells to the nose, and looks to the eye. Children were encouraged to paint with their hands if tolerated and to use a brush if that was preferred. Learning about the senses is an important area of science.

We hope you enjoy seeing what our classrooms are doing and how. Your comments are most welcome – we love seeing what others are doing.


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