Using Project-Based Learning to Incorporate Art into Homeschool Projects

The Reggio Emilia Approach and Project-Based Learning

During difficult times, such as what we are seeing now, many of us have been thrown into the role of homeschooling our children. While this may seem overwhelming, using the Reggio Emilia approach and project-based learning to help foster learning for your children can help relieve your stress. 

The Reggio Emilia approach focuses on respect, responsibility, exploration, and discovery through play, and project-based learning complements these principles. Adopting this interactive teaching style at home can help you develop a great relationship with your child through learning.

To help parents who want to include art and color theory into their Reggio Emilia homeschool curriculum, we have compiled activities that are fun, simple, and inexpensive. Plus, you may already have the necessary supplies at home, so getting started is easy.

Activities that Incorporate the Reggio-Inspired Approach and Art

There are a number of activities that can be done using the Reggio-inspired approach to help your child learn more about creating art while being homeschooled. To help you out, we have listed a number of these activities below. 

Color Theory and Finger Painting

Finger painting provides your child with a chance to get hands-on while creating their own masterpieces. Give your child bowls of non-toxic primary color paints (there are a number of washable paints available out there) and allow them to experiment with the base colors and also the colors that result when they are mixed together. 

To encourage learning, try this: have your child(ren) put two colors on a piece of paper separate from each other and ask them to guess what color will be made when mixed together. Have them try different amounts of each color to experiment with different shades as well! 

Play With Shadows

A collage of different shadow art pieces.

Using shadows to create art can help children flex their creativity, and all it takes is imagination (plus some basic supplies). We definitely recommend including this project into your Reggio Emilia at-home learning experiences to make art!

You can start very simple with this activity by turning off the lights and making shadow puppets with your hands and a flashlight. If you want to make it more challenging, take items from around the home, put them on a piece of paper, and shine a light source on the items so that they cast a shadow. Your child can then trace the shapes the shadows make to create their very own work of art.

To help your child feel independent, let them choose a few items on their own to experiment with. They can mix and match items to create unique shadows to trace over. Ask your child to tell a story about their creation. If they create a number of pieces, see if they can piece them together into one long story!

If you or your child want inspiration for some cool shadow artwork, check out shadowologist Vincent Bal’s work on Instagram. He has created some really neat pieces.

Constructing Creations from Recyclables

Images of students making recycled art.

For this fun homeschool project, you will want to gather up any recyclables that you have at home, like boxes and bottles. Also, grab some tape and glue, and any general arts and crafts supplies you may have for decoration. 

Provide your child(ren) with the materials and give them free rein to create whatever they would like. We recommend stepping in and providing assistance with the tape as needed. When it comes to decoration, allowing the child(ren) to be more independent is suggested. 

Start a dialog by having your child(ren) explain what they created and what the decorations they used mean to them.

DIY Liquid Watercolors

A collage of students making their own watercolor.

To start this project-based activity, take any old markers you have lying around the home and drop them tip-down into a cup of water. Be sure to include only like-colored markers in the same water cup.

Once the water has taken on the color of the markers, the water can then be used for liquid watercolor painting. Provide your child(ren) with some paper, pens, pencils, and paintbrushes. Then, let them be creative and create their artwork on their own. 

Be sure to do this activity on a flat surface that can be dirtied and is easy to clean.

Pipe Cleaner and Bead Creations

Students creating bead bracelets.

This simple project is a fun, quiet activity for children who are old enough to handle small objects.

Provide a small bowl of differently colored beads and pipe cleaners and allow children to put together their own pipe cleaner bracelets. You can ask them to create patterns or organize by colors or shapes if they need a sense of direction.

Wet and Dry Chalk Artwork

Students creating chalk art.

One final project-based learning activity that can be done easily at home is using chalk and water to create unique pieces of art. 

Offer water in a cup with chalk on the side, as well as some sturdy paper, such as art paper. Sidewalks or other gritty surfaces like rocks make interesting canvases as well. Your child(ren) can then choose to experiment with dipping the chalk in water and drawing different shapes and designs on the paper. Allowing them to choose their own process allows for natural exploration.

Once they create their artwork, ask them what they did to create it and what they think of their final product.


We hope that these activities will help you incorporate a Reggio Emilia project-based learning style into your at-home learning experiences. 

To learn more about the Reggio-inspired approach and Compass School locations, contact us here.