February 2023 Newsletter – Exploring Art with Children: Applied Art

Applied Art Activity Ideas

Applied art refers to any work of art that can serve a purpose or function. For example, a ceramic bowl can be a beautiful piece of art and it can hold fruit. An architect can design a building that is both visually appealing and functional because it serves as space for offices or homes. Textile or fiber art also falls into this category of art. This includes weaving, knitting, quilting, etc.

Below is a list of just a few art activities that teachers can introduce to help children learn about the world.

Note: Educators should strive to provide open-ended and process-focused art experiences. For more information about this topic, check out this month’s blog post.

  • Conduct a study of homes from around the world and across time. First, encourage children to create drawings or 3-D versions of homes they are familiar with. Build onto that by showing images or videos of homes in different countries. Talk about the things the homes have in common and what is different. Then show images of homes from the past. You could read books about how people lived in the past to help children understand what life was like in the past. Again, compare and contrast the elements of homes past and present. Encourage children to imagine and create models of homes that might exist in the future. This project could take weeks to complete. If the children are interested, you might decide to explore other types of buildings and elements of architecture as well.
  • A similar study could be designed that focuses on clothing. Discuss the conditions that necessitated the use of different types of clothing. Explore how clothing is used for warmth, protection, ceremony, and celebration today and in the past. Show pictures of how clothing has changed. Encourage children to create drawings of clothing from the past and if they are interested, they can design clothing for the future using fabric scraps or other fibers.
  • In addition to clothing, children can learn about and design jewelry from different cultures and time periods. Common art materials can be used for this project. Children can explore beadwork and/or string as a medium for jewelry making. Mosaic work relates to the jewelry theme or it can be explored on its own.
  • Consider introducing different types of clay that children can use to create functional pieces of art, such as cups, pitchers, bowls, etc. Show images or examples of these forms of art and talk with the children about their uses. See if children can think of why these items were made to be beautiful and functional.
  • A variety of translucent materials can be used to explore light and stained glass art. The items can be arranged on a light table over and over again or children could use glue to create something more permanent.
  • Set up a woodworking area where children can explore making items out of wood scraps. If you are not ready to include tools, you could introduce wood scraps and wood glue for children to use in their creations.


For the main article Exploring Art with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article article Fine Art Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE

For the article Performance Art Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE

For the article Literary Art Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE