This desert cactus art activity is easy for adults to teach and fun for kids. The final project will be a unique doodle cactus that uses the simplest of supplies, can be done on just about any size of paper, and creates a gorgeous desert cactus art activity when complete.
Doodling—if you are around my age this was something you did while you talked on the phone to friends . You would doodle on the back of an envelope, on a napkin, or on just about anything laying around. These days, hardly anyone actually *talks* on the phone. So what has become of kids finding time to doodle?
Today’s lesson will create an opportunity for your students to do just that as they create these easy doodle cacti drawings. This lesson uses the simplest of supplies. In fact, in the name of true “doodling” you can even use a bunch of old ink pens you have lying around 😉 (no really, you can).
All you need for this lesson is paper, a pencil, and a bunch of different colors of ink pens or markers. A phone with a long spiraled cord is completely optional .
This activity is one of over 20 free lessons/teaching videos I created when schools closed in 2020. I wanted to design lessons that were easy for teachers to send home and even easier for parents to implement at home. I wanted these lessons to use simple supplies and have easy-to-follow steps and be fun for kids while teaching various art elements. This lesson gives doodling a chance to resurface!
If you’d like to see the teaching video corresponding to this lesson you can watch it here…
Desert Cactus Teaching Video HERE.
I’ve also compiled this lesson plan into a free downloadable PDF. If you prefer to read it that way you can get it HERE.
Step-By-Step Instructions: Desert Cactus Art Activity
- Paper (any size will work)
- Pencil, eraser and something to outline with
- Variety of pens or markers
Before we can start the fun of doodling and coloring our desert cactus art activity, we have to first draw the cactus.
We can do this in a few easy steps…
Step #1: To get started on this project you’ll want to draw your first prickly pear cactus “pad.” To do this, take your pencil, and near the bottom of the page, draw a short line connected with an arch shape, this will be your first prickly pear pad.
Step #2: Then, draw more prickly pear pads stacked on top of each other. I find it easiest to mark the start and endpoints of my arch shapes on my cactus before I start to draw them (you can see this better demonstrated in the video above). Fill your page with prickly pear pads.
Step #3: Once you have drawn your cactus the way you want it then you can add flowers to the tops of your prickly pear pads. To do this simply start with a little “parenthesis” shape and connect them on top with a zigzagged line.
Step #4: Now that the cactus is drawn you can outline it with a black Sharpie or another dark-colored marker. Doing this step will help your cactus pads stand out once you start adding color, patterns, and doodles.
Step #5: This is the fun part! Start to
decorate doodle on your cactus by filling in each prickly pear “pad” with your pens or markers. You can doodle, draw designs and patterns, or experiment with some ink drawing techniques. This is your time to be as imaginative as you can be.
Some ink drawing techniques to try…
Stippling: Stippling is when you use dots of ink to color your drawing. Placing the dots close together will create darker-colored areas while placing dots further apart will make lighter-colored areas.
Cross-hatching: Cross-hatching is when you use lines crossed over each other in different directions to color your drawing. Just like with stippling, you can place lines closer together or further apart to create darker and lighter colors.
Once your doodle cactus is colored you can hang it up and enjoy looking at it. These look great when all displayed together showing how unique each one is!
Thanks for reading,