Michaelangelo is an incredible artist that children study at school or as part of a homeschool curriculum. We spent all our art lessons in the month of March this year (Michelangelo’s birth month) learning about Michelangelo and taking part in Michaelangelo activities.
Finding famous people within the subject your teaching and following them for a month is a great way to break the funk that can sometimes come with homeschooling. You get into a rhythm which is great, however, it can quickly get dull and boring, especially when looking to inspire and engage little ones.
For inspiration, here are some of the things we did during the month of March when learning about Michaelangelo in our homeschool.
Michelangelo Biography For Kids
We began learning about Michaelangelo, by learning about Michaelgelo. While he maybe most well-known for his painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and his sculptures of David and the Pieta, he’s actually so much more than that.
He began by studying fresco painting, before going to Medici School to learn how to become a sculpture. However, over the course of his lifetime, Michaelgelo actually did both sculpting and painting alongside poetry and architecture.
This printable activity sheet is a great way to get kids to learn more about Michaelgnelo’s biography. However, we also watched this video which is just short of 10 minutes. It’s not exactly a biography but does provide some visual representation of Michelangelo, his life and his work in a fun and informative way.
Michelangelo Activities for Kids
While I’ve listed a whole host of Michelangelo inspired activities below there are more available in books such as Michelangelo For Kids – With 21 Activities.
As a family, we really enjoyed studying Michelangelo due to his diversified background in multiple artistic fields. If you too want to continue learning more then books like this one should help.
Painting The Ceiling Of The Sistine Chapel
This is such a fun way to learn about painting like Michelangelo! Kids can really have fun with this method.
Michelangelo spent more than four years lying on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with frescoes. Have your kids spend some time painting like Michelangelo – on their backs!
- A large piece of butcher paper (or poster paper)
- Masking tape
- Tempera paints or crayons
- Begin by showing your kids pictures of the Sistine Chapel and the ceiling. Discuss the things you notice and the different images.
- Tape a large piece of butcher paper to the bottom of your dining room table.
- Give your kids markers, crayons, or paint and have them lie down underneath the table to paint on their ‘ceiling’.
Once you’ve finished consider discussing the difficulities the children had with painting on their backs and how it differs to painting stood up.
You can expand on this activity by trialling the difficulties of painting on your back with different materials (paints, crayons, pens etc) and with different techniques based on the difficulties your child has.
Sculpt Like Michelangelo
Michelangelo is also well known for his sculpting, especially his works David and the Pieta. Spend some time working on sculptures with your kids with clay, soap, or play dough.
- Butter knife or clay sculpting tools
- Bar of soap
- Choose a simple animal shape to sculpt.
- Using a butter knife or clay sculpting tools, draw the outline of the animal in a bar of soap.
- Use the butter knife and sculpting tools to scrape off bits of soap and sculpt your animal.
- When you’ve finished sculpting, use wet fingers to smooth out any rough edges.
You can expand on your teachings of Michelangelo in Geography lessons as he went to the mountains in Italy to find Carrara marble from which he would carve out works of art.
Consider learning more about each of the specific famous pieces of art Michelangelo did on The Art Story. With more than 9 different pieces covered on the website there’s plenty of information here for older children to learn more.
Paint A Fresco
Michelangelo painted frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and that method is a perfect art project for kids.
The art technique fresco basically means painting on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling. We can take that basic idea to create a very fun project.
- An aluminum pie tin
- Plaster of Paris
- Watercolor or tempera paints
Instructions for painting a fresco:
- Mix the plaster of Paris following the instructions on the container and pour the mixture into the pie tin.
- When the plaster has set – when it’s still damp but not wet, remove it from the mold.
- Paint a design or picture using watercolor or tempera paints.
- Let the plaster dry completely before displaying.
Additional Reading & Resources
If you’ve enjoyed learning about Michelangelo then consider expanding to other artists within the renaissance period with this fantastic kit from Homeschool in the Woods.
This incredible kit covers 33 artists from the time period and allows you to expand on vocabulary terms as well as a variety of mediums used by artists using games, a personal art sketchbook and lap book creation.