Navajo Sand Painting Art Game
Need a November bulletin board that shows student exploration into Native American art and culture? Imagine these beautiful Navajo sand painting projects hanging in the hallway by your door. You will be the talk of the school! This cultural art lesson is perfect for social studies and art teachers wanting to learn about traditions and customs surrounding sandpainting as well as symbols in art. Step-by-step picture directions and the included PowerPoint presentation with close-up, detailed photos will guide your students from start to finish.
Going to be absent and need a last minute art history lesson for the substitute? Or are you searching for fun, supplemental resources for art? Fill up your art sub plan folder with low-prep, creative art projects.
Once your students know how to play the game, they’re easy to leave with a sub! Create a small sub tub in your room with copies of the game in a labeled folder inside the tub along with some dice. The lesson is structured in a way that students can do the reading and practice drawing in one lesson, and the actual project when you return the following week.
Are you trying to foster more independence in your art room? This art game makes for the best and most productive early finisher activity for your students. You can set up a choice-based art center where students select an activity amongst different ones. Print out the game board and directions back to back, file them in labeled folders, and let them pick what they’d like to create.
Looking for a differentiated art lesson that boosts independent thinking, problem-solving, and skill-acquisition? This art lesson will do the trick. Despite students selecting designs from the same game board, the outcome of each project is unique to the creator.
You will create a Navajo sand painting by rolling the die and collecting the different parts required to put it together.
- After each roll, lightly draw the corresponding symbol on graph paper. Draw your shapes large to fill the space.
- Trace over all the lines until they’re heavy and dark.
- Flip the drawing face down onto the painting surface (canvas panel, cardboard, or heavy cardstock will work).
- Tape two sides down.
- With heavy pressure, scribble over the back of the paper until the design appears.
- Next, mix sand and tempra paint together using more paint than sand until it clings to the brush but slides off easily.
- Use sturdy bristle brushes and popsicle sticks to dab and push paint into place. Sandy paint dries quickly so only paint with one color at a time.
I’ve included three ways students can generate their design. The first is the game board where students roll the die to select their parts. The second is a “you pick” board. Both of these are printables. And lastly, for teachers needing engaging lessons during distance learning, I’ve added digital spinner wheels!
First, print out the Navajo sand painting game and picture directions back-to-back. Then give your students dice and watch them have fun creating their own art project independently. If you have access to a smartboard or projector, use the accompanying PowerPoint presentation. It will guide the students during each part of the art project.
Once completed, have students use the self-assessment rubrics to evaluate their artwork based on craftsmanship, creativity, following directions, work habits, project goals, and clean up. And then have them complete the “Big Ideas” sheet so they can connect the creation process to their learning.
If you are substituting or need a fast finisher activity, use the included coloring page.
- 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade
Main Learning Objective
- Students will be able to design a Navajo sand painting using traditional symbols and a grid
- Washable Tempera Paints
- Drawing Paper
- Play Sand
- Popsicle Sticks
You Will Receive
- 13-Page, Non-Editable PDF (Navajo Sand Painting Art Game)
- 9-Page Non-Editable PowerPoint Presentation
- Dice Game
- Choice-Based Drawing Version of the Game
- Step-by-Step Picture Tutorial and Directions
- Navajo Sandpainting Handout Handout
- Graph Paper
- Visual Arts Self-Assessment Rubrics
- Artist “Big Ideas” Reflection Sheets
- 8, “I CAN” Statements Aligned to the Studio Habits of Mind
- Practice Drawing Page
- Coloring Page
- Paperless Google Drive digital resource for students (also for use in Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Seesaw, Microsoft OneDrive, Teams, and anywhere else you can share a link to a file…link on the bottom of page 2)
- Digital Spinner Wheels in the download as well as on Google Slides and YouTube (links on the bottom of page 3)
Great art supplement to our novel study on Code Talkers. – Rhiannon S.
Loved this! My 5th grade students really enjoyed creating this Navajo inspired art during our Westward Expansion unit. I tend to focus more on Native Americans and the Trail of Tears during this unit, and this worked wonderfully with my students. They came up with some awesome art! – Jon R.