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How to Create Colorful Collage Art for Kids Inspired by Alma Thomas

by Joanna Pink
June 30, 2021

Color and paint warm and cool colors on paper. Then turn into colorful collage art for kids inspired by Alma Thomas.

sun collage inspired by alma thomas_joanna pink

I’ve enjoyed the work of Alma Thomas for some time now. The vivid colors and patterns in her work instantly draw you in and are a great way to introduce concepts such as color theory and shape. It’s also a valuable opportunity to explore female artists and black history.

Alma Thomas used different types of art materials, like paints and crayons in her artwork (just like us!). She used bold colors and dabbed marks of paint over the canvas to create abstract pictures and radial designs.

This project is a great opportunity to try a collage art as it is accessible to a wide age range. And you likely have all the needed materials at home!

Collage art for kids pinterest

Collage Art for Kids


Time needed: 2 days.

Note: This is a two part project.

  1. Treasure hunt for colors

    Start your time by taking a look at photos of Alma Thomas’ work to get inspired! We discuss the patterns and colors seen in the images.

    Then I ask the children to go on a treasure hunt to find colorful objects from around the house, we identify the colors and group into warm colors (red, orange and yellow) or cold colors (blue, some purple and some green). This is a great way for kids to get up and move around a little! 

  2. Identify warm colors

    Next, kids can look through their art materials and identify the pencils, crayons, markers and paints that have warm color tones.

    child creating warm colors page_joanna pink

  3. Color paper with warm & cool colors

    Start to cover a sheet of paper in warm colors. Begin to color first with lines and patterns, then fill in the negative spaces with paint. Discuss different types of marks that different art materials make. You can use any art materials that you have at home, and it’s also a great opportunity to explore new materials to see what they can do.

    child mixing colors for challenge_joanna pink

    It’s fun to stop once in a while and point out interesting things in each other’s artwork. This helps to build community and confidence among children, siblings, etc.

    Once the paper is covered in warm colors, it’s time to do the same with cool colors on a separate piece of paper. You will end up with one paper filled with warm tones and a second with cool tones. This is a good stopping point if you’d like to come back to this project later.

    warm colors page_joanna pink

  4. Assemble collage

    Start to cut paper first into strips and then into smaller shapes. Use a combination of the warm and cold papers to create a collage inspired by Alma Thomas. It’s useful to take another look at Alma’s work at this point for extra inspiration!

    sunset collage like Alma Thomas_joanna pink

I love how every child’s artwork turns out so differently, but with common themes of color, nature and pattern shining through.

Books featuring Alma Thomas

Read About Alma Thomas

For additional reading about Alma Thomas, I recommend Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History and Women in Art.

blue and orange collage_joanna pink

More Collage Art for Kids

Pin It For Later

Alma Thomas inspired collages pinterest

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