Art Smart

Howardena Pindell Inspired Circle Art

Ideal for Preschool/Pre-K, School-Age

A young girl with glasses focuses on painting. She's holding a brush, and is painting with blue paint

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to:

  • Appreciate great artists and their artistic perspective.
  • Explore various mediums to create art and develop an appreciation for Howardena Pindell’s artistic inspiration.


  • Thick paper e.g., cardstock, cardboard or stretched canvas
  • Pastels, paint, colored pencils
  • Various sizes of hole punches
  • Glue
  • Art Brushes
  • Scissors


*Before you watch the video, please make sure all materials are ready. Watch the video at the bottom of this page!

  1. Start by having children use pastels and paint on paper in any creative way they want. Encourage children to fill the page with their expression of color. (**Day 1)
  2. When the paper has dried, provide children with various sized hole punchers NOTE: This will take some time and energy because you will need a lot. Be sure to keep the papers with the empty holes for use later so that you are working with both the positive and negative shapes. (**Day 2)
  3. Once ready, have the children color or paint their background canvas or paper in any way they wish. Remind them it's just a quick process to add color, not detail. NOTE: Try playing music while children paint to encourage quick and broad brushstrokes as they fill their background. (**Day 3)
  4. Remind the children that the circles are analogous, or represent, people. Try to consider each circle and where they place them.
  5. Provide glue which they may use to glue circles and negative space paper for each addition to their art design. (**Day 4)

**It is recommended to extend this experience over multiple days. When we slow down, we enrich the experience for children.


  • Set up an area in your art center with paper, paint, and paper punches for children to continue punching circles and creating art in the style of Howardena Pindell.
  • Provide paper and punches for children to use to help them manage frustrated feelings. What other techniques may be helpful to children to calm and refocus when feeling upset?

Big Questions:

  • Tell me about your circles? Are any of them people? If so, who are they? Can you tell me about them?
  • Do you ever get frustrated or feel that things are unfair?
  • What do you do when you feel that way?
  • How do you help yourself feel better?
  • How does your art make you feel?
  • Is there a particular circle pattern that you find special or beautiful?

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