5 Reasons Why You Should Teach Monster Themed Art Lessons

5 Reasons Why You Should Teach Monster Themed Art Lessons

When I first began my art teaching journey, I found myself teaching art in small rural school in South Carolina. I came in bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to teach my students everything I learned in college, only there was one problem. The only art class these students had been exposed to was doing coloring sheets just long enough for their classroom teacher to get a bathroom break. I had no idea what I was walking into and quickly realized that teaching my 5th graders about how to draw one point perspective was absolutely pointless if they had never learned the foundations of art education. The other things I quickly learned was that unfortunately, because of their (lack) of a true art program, most of my students completely shut down when asked to do certain skills that were even remotely challenging. Everything I came in trying to teach was brand new to them, and I could see many of them feeling deflated. 
So... I slammed on the breaks, completely scrapped everything I had planned, and pivoted 180 degrees. I knew that in order for my students to learn skills and techniques, I first had to build their confidence up, and create lessons that would peek their interest with engaging subject matter. My solution? MONSTERS. 
Why monsters you ask?? Easy. Because there is literally no wrong way to create a monster. There is not way to fail. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to draw or sculpt a monster, and for the first time all year, I finally started to see my students get excited to come to art. They started thinking creatively, and taking risks, and having fun <3 We made paper mache monsters, painted monsters, clay monsters and one of my favorites, Monsters in our closet
 paper mache monsters    monster in my closet art lesson  monster in my closet
Now that you know my personal story to how monsters saved my art program,  I want to expand upon why every art teacher needs to include monsters in their curriculum when teaching art to kids! 

5 Reasons Why Every Art Teacher Needs to Teach a Monster Project: 

monster in my closet art lesson

  1. They connect to kids. Kids are always going to be more engaged in an art project that connects to their lives. Let’s say you want to teach different types of lines… what do you think a child would get excited about: drawing different types of lines across a piece of paper OR using different types of lines to show texture on a monster.

monster exchange art project

2. They build confidence. I know it sounds weird reading that, but what I mean is that there is no wrong way to draw or create a monster. Seriously! So if you have reluctant artists who are constantly comparing their work to yours or their peers, allow them to gift of freedom to create a monster. They can’t go wrong!

Amazon.com: Are You My Monster? (I Need My Monster): 9781947277328: Noll,  Amanda, McWilliam, Howard: Books

3. There are so many literary connections. Whether it’s tying in a book about monsters (there are so many great ones: Where the Wild Things are, Lines that Wiggle, Color Monster, Are You My Monsters? are just a few!) But you can also have students write a biography about their monster, describe their personality, how write a short story about their monster. Here is great blog with tons of books about monsters! 

 Paper Mache monsters on a beach

4. They can be created with ANY age with ANY supplies! From Pre-K through 12th grade. When I didn't have ANY money for an art budget I really leaned into paper mache, because it was CHEAP. Just recycled materials, newspaper, flour and glue and BAM. Giant paper mache monster sculptures! Kids of all ages can create a monster out of ANY available material. Now of course as an educator or parent you can provide specific criteria and guidelines that are developmentally appropriate, but this is a project for everyone! 

the monster exchange


5. You can collaborate with other students, classes, schools, or adults! There are so many amazing projects that have been shared over the years that involve collaboration & monsters. Check out The Monster Project, The Monster Exchange, or create your own! My own son designed a monster in his pre-K class and his teacher collaborated with a high school art class where the high school student not only created a story about his monster, but also sewed a stuffy that was an exact replica of my son’s drawing. It was such an amazing example of collaboration, giving, and community at work! You could have your students draw a monster, and then collaborate with a high school class who creates a ceramic replica of their monster, or a highly detailed oil painting, or a story written by a student in the creative arts. The possibilities are endless!

If you're looking for a few lessons to help get you started in creating monster projects with your kiddos, be sure to check out: 


monster in my closet art lesson

My Monster in the Closet Lesson


Monster Face Vase with this Moxie Box Art Lessons


Line Painting Monsters from Elements of the Art Room  (this lesson has been so fu to do with kindergarten over the years! 

I hope that this blog inspires you to introduce monster projects into your art room, because I know your students (and you) are sure to love it! 

Happy Creating!


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