In this post we will look at different ways to introduce kids to famous works of art, and provide a free printable craft template for Van Gogh Starry Night which you can use as a starting point with your child.
My boys love to get creative and express themselves with pens, paints and whatever creative materials they can get their hands on! But I have to admit I hadn’t really introduced them to any of the famous artists yet.
When Galt challenged us to recreate our own version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night this was a perfect opportunity to introduce the kids to one of the Old Masters for the first time.
Van Gogh’s Starry Night
Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night was painted in 1889, in Saint-Rémy in Southern France.
This painting was made using oil paint on canvas and is one of the most recognised paintings in the world.
Starry Night is estimated to be worth over $100 million for the original painting. But this painting is so famous and loved that it is pretty much priceless!
Van Gogh Starry Night Sponge Painting
We were sent outline drawings of the painting and a sponge painting kit to have a go at our own version.
We set out our empty templates and supplies and talked about the colours and whether Z wanted to keep his painting the same as the original or do his own version.
We used just four colours of paint, so this gave us an opportunity to think about what colours we would need to mix to create other shades that we needed for our paintings.
Z also thought carefully about what tool would be best. He decided that the roller would be best for the night sky background and then we could add details on top with the sponge shapes.
I’m happy for the kids to use their imagination and creativity in art projects, and feel that the activity is more about the process than the finished project so of course I was not going to insist that he followed the original painting to the letter.
As a modern child, seeing the town scene at the bottom of the painting Z felt that it’s only right to have a few cars down there for the town traffic!
Exploring art from the past gives a good opportunity to talk about life – what has stayed the same and what changes have come and gone.
It’s hard for kids to imagine that in those days there would not have been all of these modern cars filling the streets like we see nowadays!
But it’s also interesting to think of how many things do stay the same – like the stars and the night sky which cover us, and everyone in the world.
Whether born now or 1000 years ago, or wherever you are in the world we are all under the same stars. Maybe that’s part of the appeal of Starry Night.
As Van Gogh once said “Looking at the stars always makes me dream” (the rest of the quote is actually about death.. so maybe best not to share the whole thing with the kids!)
In the original painting, the space at the front is a dark green tree (a cypress tree) but with the outline on the template Z thought it looked a lot like a flame so he has made it into a fire, burning yellow and red to match the stars.
He used yellow paint underneath and then circle sponges with red paint to give more details to his flame.
We printed out several copies so that we could experiment and make a few different versions, which allowed him to enjoy the activity for longer.
We made about 4 versions in the end before Z moved on to making his own sponge paint creations on plain paper. Here’s another one:
Other Ideas for The Van Gogh Starry Night Template
This black and white starry night outline template can be used for even more than just sponge painting. Here are a few ideas, the possibilities are endless
Starry Night Coloring Page
Use the printable as a Starry Night coloring page to complete the picture with pencil crayons, felt tips or markers.
Kids of all ages will enjoy coloring in Van Gogh’s masterpiece in their own style.
Starry Night Q Tip Painting
Dip Q-Tips (cotton buds) in paint and fill in the picture by dotting all over, using the Q-Tip as your paint brush.
This is great for developing fine motor skills.
Starry Night Collage
Use scraps of ripped magazines and newspapers or even ripped fabric scraps to glue down onto the Starry Night outline template and complete your picture.
Starry Night Tracing Sheet
Place some tracing paper on top of the Starry Night Printable, and have a go at tracing it onto the new sheet of paper using a pencil
Starry Night Suncatcher
Place the template underneath a sheet of contact paper (sticky back plastic) and stick down scraps of colored cellophane or tissue paper, similar to the collage technique.
The do not stick the printable to the contact paper, as it will need to be removed after all of the tissue or cellophane is added.
An easy way is to tape the printable to the outside of the window (facing in so it can be seen from inside), then tape your sticky back plastic to the window (sticky side up) so that the kids can easily work on their Starry Night sun catcher collage.
Once they have finished, just remove the template from the outside of the window.
Van Gogh Starry Night Craft Template
If you would like to do these activity here is a preview of the template and you can download in PDF format below.
Log in to Grow
To download the template you may be asked to log into Grow. This is totally free, and the template will be immediately visible after signing in.
You can connect to existing accounts like your Facebook account to make this even quicker, and the content will become visible with just the one click.
Download Van Gogh Starry Night Template PDF
Click below to download your PDF file of the black and white outline Starry Night, to use as a template for your craft.
Show your child a copy of the original painting, to look at together and talk about the art work.
More Van Gogh Art Projects for Kids
You might also be interested in these fun Van Gogh inspired art projects for kids. Looking at a variety of different Van Gogh painting including
- The Chair
- Poppy Fields
- Blossom Tree
- Starry Night
Continue learning about Art with your child with our free color mixing printables
I’d love to see your child’s version of a Van Gogh masterpiece if you have a go with this template, Please feel free to come and share on the In The Playroom Facebook page!
Follow and Share
Please share this blog post with friends, family and colleagues so that other parents and teachers can benefit from our free resources.
Thanks so much, we appreciate your support.
For more kids art activities check out my Kids Ideas and Activities board on Pinterest
Originally posted May 2014, Updated and reposted May 2022 with more information
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.