hello hearts!

process oriented art for childrenThis is a sweet and fun project for kids to do around Valentine’s Day. Every time we do this symmetry painting project, the kids get very excited as they unfold their hearts. They love discovering how the paint has transferred and mixed into a new design.

Click here to download a lesson plan of Heart Symmetry Painting Lesson Plan.

Age Level:  3-5 years


  • To learn about symmetry
  • To explore painting with unusual tools and methods (sticks instead of paintbrushes, and folding an rubbing to create painting)
  • To talk about Valentine’s Day and making things for people we love

the messy artist fine art classes for kidsMaterials:

  • Construction paper
  • Tempera paint in coordinating colors/shades (we used pink, purple and white)
  • Small plastic cups for paint
  • Small wooden craft sticks
  • Plastic tray (we use take out container lids) to keep the paint in place

valentine project for kidsTeacher Preparation:

  • Fold paper in half, then cut hearts out. We use a template to make sure all are the same.
  • Put paint into cups, one set per every two children
  • Put craft sticks out, one per color per child


Show the students an example of a finished project. Tell them briefly about Valentine’s Day (“we like to show the people we love that we care in special ways on this holiday”). Also explain that we will be painting not with brushes, not with our fingers, but with sticks and by rubbing today.

Show the students a folded heart, then open it. Explain that it is symmetrical – the same on both sides. See if they can think of any other symmetrical things (our bodies, a square, an apple).

Next demonstrate dipping a stick into paint and then tap, tap, tapping it onto one side of the heart.   Put a few colors on and then fold the heart in half. Rub it and ask for some special magic words. (Kids usually come up with “Abracadabra” or “Shazam”. Sometimes someone says “Please”.)heart painting project for children

Open the heart to reveal how the paint is now on both sides, in a symmetrical pattern.

Have the children go pick out their paper hearts from a nearby supply table.

art class party and camp north jeerseyWhile they are doing this, place the paints on the table.

art class for toddlers new jersey fine art class for kids morris county nj the messy artist art class njWalk around encouraging the kids to tap their paint onto the hearts. The more paint they use, the more dramatic the reveal after they fold and rub.

The kids can add more paint and fold again and again if they wish.

north nj fine art class for tweensMake sure to unfold all hearts so that the paint will cry – otherwise they will stick together. As these usually take some time to dry, we send them home the next class session.

heart art project with symmetry for kidsHappy Valentine’s Day!




Author: hellokidsart

The Messy Artist is a special place to create art. We offer year-round art classes for children 18 months through adulthood. In addition to art classes from September through June, we offer summer art camp and Drop-In and Play art activities for kids between our regular sessions. Our bright, colorful studio is also the perfect place for a kid’s birthday party! The Messy Artist children’s art center was created and designed by Owner/Director Donna Bernstein, a professional educator and artist. The curriculum is inspired and guided by Donna’s teaching experience and research in child development, as well as her passion for art. At The Messy Artist, art lessons for kids entertain and enrich their brains, bodies, and hearts.

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