Special Needs Art Lesson Plans: Modified Lessons for Special Education Students

These lesson plans were created to teach students about different mediums of art, including ones they can easily do at home. Read through the lesson plans below and use one or all of them to help your students express themselves with pride.

Self Portrait

Doing self portraits is not only a fun way for students to practice working with paints, but can also be a therapeutic tool for them to express themselves with. As you direct your students to create a self portrait, make sure that they are aware that this self portrait does not even have to look like a person, but can be an expression of how they feel or how they see themselves. Offer students construction paper and tempera paints to do the self portrait.

Varied Painting

Have students practice different ways of painting that will help them improve their fine motor skills. Use some of the suggestions below.

  • Have students use Q-tips to paint their art designs.
  • Ask students to hold a piece of yarn in some tempera paint, then take it out and use it to make designs on their papers.
  • Ask students to paint a picture using tempera paint, then sprinkle it with salt to see the creative new shapes and splotches that appear.
  • Play music while painting and have students try to paint the beat of the music or paint the way the music makes them feel.
  • Ask students to cut out specific shapes or tear shapes out of construction paper. Lay the shapes on a piece of construction paper with something to hold them down. Spray tempera paint from a bottle over the shapes. Remove the shapes and discuss the various designs with students.

Egg Cartons

Not only are egg cartons fun and easy to work with, but they cost nothing and promote recycling through reusing. Use egg cartons to teach your students about the joy of recycling as they use their fine motor skills and imagination to create these fun projects.

  • Have students design their own bugs using egg cartons, paint, glitter and pipe cleaners. Use one egg section or string together more than one for a fun bug to play with.
  • Allow students to design an egg carton for them to keep their collections in!
  • Use egg cartons to start a small garden and teach your students about the life cycle of a plant.

Be Creative

These are some very simple special needs art lesson plans that allow the students to practice using things like scissors, paint brushes, glue and paint. Watch your students use their tools and their level of enjoyment as they proudly work on their masterpieces. Use what you see to create more fun lesson plans!