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Unleash your Inner Leonardo (da Vinci)

The point of this Themes list is for you to unleash the inner Leonardo in the children. He was inventor, writer, painter, scientist and mathematician, to name but a few of his occupations. If we all had just a little Leonardo in us, the world might be a better place.


Portraits and Self-portraits. Show examples, give the kids drawing materials, and let them have at it. For younger kids, draw the head outline first.

Show examples of perspective (3-d) and Sfumato (Leonardo's specialties), and help the kids learn how to draw that with colored pencils.

Trace the basic outlines of the Mona Lisa. Copy the tracing to have lots of copies. Have the kids color or paint (watercolor) the picture.

Provide a huge assortments of odds and ends and let the kids invent something from it.

Have the kids "invent" on paper a machine to do a job (walk the dog, pull a loose tooth, feed the fish while on vacation, etc.).

Show some of Leonardo's war machine drawings. Encourage the kids to design their own machine to scale a castle wall (or dig under it), to fight dragons, or help the king win the war next Pennsic.

Talk about forgeries of famous paintings and art theft. Find out what the kids would like to have forged or cleverly stolen. Ask them how they'd go about getting a stolen painting back.

Show the incredible detail of Leonardo's drawings. Take a fieldtrip outside and have the kids draw something in nature in fine detail.

Find a copy of Vitruvian Man. Discuss whether the body proportions in the drawing are true of everyone. Draw an appropriate sized circle on the ground with chalk (use tape on a carpet), and see if it's true of kids. Tall men. Women. Babies.

Discuss Leonardo's Murals. Make a mural of your own (high table? The listfield?). Use a large roll of brown paper or butcher paper.

Have a selection of artbooks for the children to look at. Ask them to tell you what makes a Leonardo a Leonardo? How is it different from other artists?


Cybersleuth kids da Vinci
Recommended Leonardo da Vinci books
Surfing the net with kids: da Vinci
Vitruvian Man (]

Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon