Famous Artists for Kids: Elmer Meets Kandinsky

by Meghan

Sharing is caring!

The girls favorite book changes weekly – lately, they’ve been on an Elmer kick. For those unfamiliar with the story, Elmer is a brightly colored patchwork elephant, who just wants to look like all the other elephants, but ultimately celebrates his unique look.  At the end of the story, all the other elephants celebrate Elmer as well by painting themselves with their own unique patterns – many of which remind me of famous artists.  As we continue our studies of Famous Artists for Kids, all I could see when I looked at Elmer was Kandinsky and his famous painting, Squares with Concentric Circles.

Famous Artists for Kids

Elmer Meets Kandinsky

Elmer is a classic read for preschoolers.  The story of a patchwork elephant, Elmer just wants to look like all the other elephants, only to ultimately discover he misses standing out in the crowd. It is a great story to teach children to celebrate their differences and the character traits that make them unique.

The book also ends with a great invitation to create – once a year, all the elephants paint themselves with intricate designs and patterns (many of which may resemble famous works of art).  The Ms and I seized this invitation to create by making our own Kandinsky-inspired Elmers!

Making Elmer

To create our own Kandinsky-inspired elephants, we only used a few basic supplies.


Crayola assorted colored construction paper
White cardstock
Glue sticks
Googly eyes
Circle paper punches (optional)
PGPB Elmer Template Printable

Cost: Less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 10 minutes
Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes

Big M is now back in preschool 3 mornings a week, so I set this project up for Lil’ M on one of our solo mornings.  I used my favorite Dollar Store dip tray as a sorting tray to hold all the materials.  I used one sheet of construction paper in each of the colors of Elmer: red, white, black, orange, blue, green, purple, yellow and pink.  I cut two strips each of 1″ squares, then used my 1″ and 0.5″ circle punches to punch circles out of the remaining construction paper.

Famous Artists for Kids - Kandinsky Reproduction SuppliesI set Lil’ M up at her craft table with the sorting tray of pre-cut materials, a glue stick and a sheet of white cardstock.  The heavier weight paper holds up better to the toddler art abuse! I showed her the Elmer book, and pulled up Kandinsky’s Squares with Concentric Circles on my iPad for inspiration.

Famous Artists for Toddlers - Exploring Kandinsky

Her attention span is shorter than Big M’s, and she played at it for awhile, then went off to play.  I left all the materials out on the table though.  After quiet time, Big M saw them and ever my little artist, wanted to make an Elmer too.  And since whatever big sister does, little sister wants to do too… Lil’ M returned to finish hers as well!

Famous Artists for Preschool - Kandinsky

Exlporing Kandinsky with Preschoolers

While they worked on their designs, I drew an Elmer template and applied it to my own Kandinsky-inspired design.  The Printable Elmer template, along with all our templates, are emailed to our newsletter subscribers every Friday.  You can sign up for PGPB Guru Weekly, featuring all our posts for the week, printables, as well as a weekly special offer, with the form below!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Email Format

Using the template, I traced it over our designs and cut out our Kandinsky-inspired Elmers!

Elmer Meets Kandinsky - Famous Artists for Preschool

About Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) was a Russian artist and is credited with painting the first, truly abstract art. Born in Moscow, Kandinsky initially pursued a career in law and economics, though from early childhood was always fascinated and inspired by color.

At the age of 30, he gave up his promising career teaching law and economics to study art in Germany.  He was one of the first artists to paint abstract pictures, believing that compositions of colors and shapes could be just as powerful and moving as any other works of art, a founding father of Expressionism.

What design would you make on your Elmer?  If you enjoyed this post, you can find all the posts in our Art History for Preschool series here, where we explore a variety of Famous Artists and their masterpieces reproduced by kids. You can also find them all, along with other favorites I have discovered from around the web on our Art for Kids board on Pinterest.

And since Kandinsky is so much fun, stay tuned for our next project also inspired by Kandinsky and featuring another new favorite book: The Noisy Paint Box. For more Kandinsky-inspired activities for kids, check out:

Elmer Meets Kandinsky Square

Sharing is caring!


More to love on Playground Parkbench


10 Wassily Kandinsky Art Projects for Kids February 7, 2020 - 11:30 pm

[…] 10. Elmer meets Kandinsky […]

38 Awesome Art Projects for Kids Inspired by Famous Artists - Crafty Kids at Home November 24, 2016 - 3:18 pm

[…] Bring colour to your art experience when looking at the work of Kandinsky. Why not  Explore Lines and Circles, or Concentric Circles or even try this Elmer meets Kandinsky project. […]

5 STEAM Activities for Preschoolers with Bubble Gum October 8, 2016 - 1:12 pm

[…] Art History for Kids […]

21+ Awesome Art Projects for Kids Inspired by Famous Artists - Crafty Kids at Home September 24, 2016 - 11:35 am

[…] Bring colour to your art experience when looking at the work of Kandinsky. Why not  Explore Lines and Circles, or Concentric Circles or even try this Elmer meets Kandinsky project. […]

15 Elmer the Elephant Activities for Kids - Buggy and Buddy January 24, 2016 - 6:42 pm

[…] Kadinsky Inspired Elephant from Playground Parkbench […]

The Best of 2015 - Parenting & Kids Activities ⋆ Playground Parkbench January 2, 2016 - 12:01 am

[…] Famous Artists for Kids: Elmer Meets Kandinsky […]

Pop Culture Process Art for Preschool ⋆ Playground Parkbench December 2, 2015 - 10:21 pm

[…] and there.  You can find all the posts to date on our landing page, including popular favorites: Elmer Meets Kandinsky and Painting with Scissors.  All of these also appear on our Art for Kids board on Pinterest, […]

The Noisy Paint Box Process Art ⋆ Playground Parkbench November 19, 2015 - 1:42 pm

[…] learn more about Kandinsky, you might also like Famous Artists for Kids: Elmer Meets Kandinsky.  You can find them both on our Exploring Art History with Preschoolers landing page, along with […]

Kim Farrar September 27, 2015 - 4:37 pm

I just signed up for your newsletter and like you on FB. Did I just miss it… or do you not have a link to:
Elmer Template Printable?

PGPBMeghan September 27, 2015 - 6:20 pm

My printables are included in my weekly newsletter that comes out each Friday, along with the posts for the week. I’m working on getting them all on a password protected landing page available only to newsletter subscribers, but not quite there yet!


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.