First Days, First Element – LINE

I love teaching little kids about lines.  You can do much when teaching lines and I love it when kids start noticing lines around them AND they can name them. You can focus on lines with gross motor skills (follow the leader, make this line with your body) or fine motor skills.   Lines are easy to identify indoors, outside, and on your clothes.  Lines are fun.

These series of lessons work really well with grades K, 1, 2 and 3. But, I am sure you can use these for the older grades too.

DAY 1:

First lesson involves making all the lines.  I do this at the Promethean board and it’s so much fun just to cover that screen with all sorts of lines.  For small kids I introduce the straight line with a karate chop. Can you do a karate chop with a noodle for an arm? No.  You have to keep that arm straight.  But, on the flip side, you can make a noodly arm with the wavy line.  Cool dance move too.  Get really animated and the kids will remember. Silly plants seeds in the brain.


Cover that board with lines and watch how your kiddos make their marks too. Here is the zig zag on the Promethean board:

zig zags

Here’s curly or loopy:


SAVE ALL THIS WORK.  Once you make all these lines on different slides, you can print them out for a matching game, which I will talk about below.

While you are making your lovely creation at the whiteboard, students are to make their own with markers on large pieces of paper.  The goal is not to make a picture, it’s just to loosen up the hand and make a bunch of lines.  Kids love it, especially when you call each of their works of art a masterpiece.

DAY 2:

The next day involves working together to make a community art piece.  This involves two rounds.  For the first round,  I call out a line and start making lines on the board.  Kids make the lines on the butcher paper.  After one minute, I call freeze and then rotate. Students rotate one spot around the table.  I have them rotate for two reasons: 1) they don’t fall in love and get possessive over their corner of the piece.  2) realize they can add things to other people’s ideas and other people can add to theirs. At this point going on top of each other’s work is OKAY. Again, it’s just to have fun and loosen up the muscles.

lines part 2

The second round of this step is very similar to the first except I’m not calling out and they aren’t rotating when I tell them to rotate.  I want the students to talk to each other and work on building their artwork TOGETHER.  They have so much fun during this process.  It is now that we get into etiquette.  No marking over another person’s work.  Let’s talk to each other and see if we can add to the work.


DAY 3:

The next day we play a warm-up matching game made by the artworks from the Promethean board. Save those artworks, print them out and make a game out of it!


My students even invented another name for the square form of a swirl line:


Squarel works for me.

This game should take around 5 minutes or so.

Then students get to play around with three-dimensional lines.  We discuss how to make these lines pop out off the paper.  Their final project in their line review involves a large piece of construction paper for the base, markers, and paper strips.  Again, if this is a new concept for your students, you may want to save this activity for another time in the year.  I did this with crazy hair (Kindergarten) as well as pop-up cards, and activities last year.


You can take this in many directions.  I would love to have my kids work outside with pieces of chalk to make lines on the sidewalk.  Unfortunately, I see them at the end of the day and it’s 114 degrees F outside.  Not doing that.  If you have room form lines on the floor, make dances, draw the line blindfolded.  The sky is the limit.  It’s all about understanding how to identify, name, draw, and shape the lines.

There is also a video that links music to lines. My students love it:



Author: Sonia Chapman

I am an art teacher, living in the Middle East, following my passion for art, teaching little children about the finer things in life, and loving every bit of it.

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