The Starry Night

Age Range: 7 - 11
By: Sarah Coraggio

Objective: Students are introduced to a famous artist, his paintings, and his historical time period and location. By sharing his famous paintings with students and encouraging them to create their own artwork, students can gain confidence in themselves that they too can be great artists. This lesson also introduces the process needed to create a darker shade of color as well as a lighter tint of color. Students will add black to blue paint to create a darker shade of blue and white to blue paint to create a lighter tint of blue. This process will be applied in their paintings that will be similar to Vincent Van Gogh’s "The Starry Night" painting.


  • History books and maps
  • Books and/or paintings discussing and showing Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings
  • Black, blue, and white paint
  • Painting paper
  • Paint brush
  • Tag board (large enough to fit around paper as a frame)
  • Noodles shaped like wheels, etc.
  • Gold or brass-colored spray paint
  • Scissors
  • Elmer’s glue or PVA glue
  • Silver or gold glitter
  • Van Gogh : The Touch of Yellow (Art for Children) by Jacqueline Loumaye. This book is available here

Visual Resources: Reproductions of Van Gogh’s artwork, World map


  • Read Van Gogh Art for Children that discusses his art and includes pictures, including "The Starry Night."
  • Using books and maps, talk about when and where Van Gogh lived and what other historical evens were going on at that time.
  • Show students some pictures of Van Gogh’s paintings, being sure to include "The Starry Night."
  • Discuss some vocabulary words such as Artist, Inspiration, and Imagination.
  • Demonstrate to the students how to make shades and tints of colors by painting a picture similar to the "The Starry Night." Remind the students about the primary colors such as blue.
  • Teacher will tell the children that they too can be artists and guide them in an imagination exercise to see a starry night. Have students then paint a picture similar to Van Gogh’s.

An extension for this would be to have the children create a frame for their paintings. This can be done by using tag board and a smaller rectangular tag board that the children decorate. They can use wagon wheel noodles by gluing them onto their frames.

When the children are gone, the teacher can spray paint the children’s picture frames and let them dry overnight. Remember to spray paint outside or in a well-ventilated area, because the spray paint is hazardous to your health. Never use it around the students!

Assessment: Students present their pictures to the class and tell about how they painted them. This will give the teacher an idea of how students interpreted and learned from the lesson. Students may grade their own work. Discussion of geography/history.


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