Monday, November 24, 2014

Kindergarten Holi Portraits

This year our Cultural Heritage Focus was India. My K-3rd grade students each had a more structured lesson while the 4th-6th grade students chose their starting point. Kindergarten students learned about the Holi festivals in India.
First, we watched this news video:

Next, we looked at photos from National Geographic. They're beautiful, check it out!

I asked the students to think about what it would be like at the Holi festival and imagine they were in attendance. The students drew a self portrait and some added a friend or family member with them. The students traced the drawings with sharpie and then we added color, which was the most fun part. As soon as I saw pictures of the colored powder being thrown at the Holi festival, it made me think of powdered tempera.
Students placed their drawings in boxes, used dry paintbrushes dipped in powdered tempera to sprinkle color on top, then we sprayed with water to activate the paint. When the projects dried, I "fixed" them with hairspray.
Powdered tempera is super cheap and pretty brightly colored.
My first class used crayons because I was thinking it would create a resist. I always forget that Kinders have a hard time pressing hard enough with crayons, especially at the beginning of the school year, to create a good resist. We switched to just sharpie line drawings in the next class.
Students did need supervision while applying the powder. Some wanted to just dump a whole bunch in one spot so I had to give reminders about sprinkling and spreading it out. 
Watercolor paper would have been preferable to the drawing paper which wanted to curl as it dried, but I was able to flatten the artwork pretty well.
We have a bunch of powdered tempera left. While I don't like painting with it as intended, I think there are some good possibilities for the sprinkle and spray method!


  1. fun! I've been to a Holi event-color everywhere!!

  2. Thank you for the great Holi art lesson.
    We are doing a unit on India and I cannot wait to try this colorful, fun idea.