Exploring Emotions Through Abstract Shapes: A Creative Lesson for Elementary Students


In the world of education, fostering emotional intelligence and creativity is just as crucial as imparting academic knowledge. One engaging and innovative way to achieve this is by helping your elementary school students express their emotions through art. Today, we'll delve into a captivating lesson on "Emotion Expression Through Abstract Shapes" that not only encourages artistic exploration but also provides a safe space for young minds to convey their feelings. So, let's embark on this journey of artistic self-expression with your elementary students.

Understanding Emotions and Abstract Art

Before diving into the lesson plan, it's essential to explain the concept of emotions and abstract art to your young artists. Emotions are the feelings we experience, such as happiness, anger, sadness, and excitement. Abstract art, on the other hand, is a form of artistic expression that doesn't aim to represent objects or scenes realistically. It uses shapes, colors, and lines to convey emotions, thoughts, or ideas.

Materials Needed

For a successful lesson on emotion expression through abstract shapes, gather the following materials:

  1. Drawing paper or canvas for each student.
  2. Acrylic or tempera paint in various colors.
  3. Paintbrushes, sponges, or other creative tools.
  4. Water cups for rinsing brushes.
  5. Art aprons or old shirts to protect students' clothing.
  6. Visual aids, such as images of abstract art and charts of basic emotions.

Lesson Plan

Now, let's break down the lesson into a few simple steps:

Step 1: Introduction to Emotions and Abstract Art (15 minutes) Begin by discussing emotions with your students. Show visual aids or images of abstract artworks that convey different emotions, such as joy, anger, or calmness. Talk about how colors, shapes, and lines can represent these feelings. Ask your students to share their thoughts on how they perceive and express their own emotions.

Step 2: Preparing the Art Space (10 minutes) Set up a designated art area in the classroom with all the necessary materials. Encourage students to put on their art aprons and explain the importance of cleanliness and organization in the art space.

Step 3: Emotion Exploration (30 minutes) Now, it's time to create! Provide each student with a piece of paper or canvas and a selection of paint colors. Instruct them to choose an emotion they'd like to express and use abstract shapes and colors to represent it on their canvas. Encourage them to let their emotions guide their choices and experiment with different brushstrokes and techniques.

Step 4: Sharing and Reflection (15 minutes) Once the artwork is complete, have a sharing session where students can discuss their creations. Encourage them to explain the emotions they intended to convey and how their abstract shapes and colors represent these feelings. This is an excellent opportunity for students to reflect on their own emotions and empathize with their peers.

Step 5: Optional Enhancement (15 minutes) For an added layer of creativity, your students can choose to add words or phrases to their artwork, describing their emotions or what inspired their creation. This step is optional and can be incorporated based on the available time and resources.


The "Emotion Expression Through Abstract Shapes" lesson is a fantastic way to nurture emotional intelligence and creativity in elementary students. It encourages them to explore their feelings through art, helping them develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their peers. As an elementary school teacher, you have the opportunity to provide a safe and expressive outlet for your students to connect with their emotions and express them through abstract shapes and colors. So, set up your art space, hand out the painting materials, and watch as your students embark on an artistic journey of self-discovery, one brushstroke at a time. Happy painting!

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