Literature Lesson Plans: Art Ideas for “Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak

By Keren Perles

“Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak, lends itself to plenty of imaginary artwork. These “Where the Wild Things Are" art lesson plans are fun ways to help artistic kids enjoy the book, but they’re simple enough for all kids to accomplish!

Max’s Crown

Try some of these “Where the Wild Things Are" art lesson plans to get kids interested in Sendak’s classic book. Help students cut out crown shapes from construction paper or tag board, making sure that they are the appropriate length to fit around the students’ heads. Then encourage students to decorate their crowns so that it is obvious that the crowns belong to “the king of the wild things." To help students be more creative, try letting them use finger paint to decorate their crowns. Because it is harder to make precise pictures with finger paint, students will feel free to use their imagination more creatively.

If you’d like, you can also allow students to make their own royal robes to go with their crowns. You’ll need to supply them with packs of cheap bed sheets (top sheets only), and instruct them to cut the sheets so that each student will be able to get a decently-sized piece. Students can then finger paint the sheets to make their own robes, which can be wrapped over their shoulders after the paint dries.

Wolf Ears

Students can create their own wolf ears, so that they are wearing part of a wolf suit – just like Max’s! Provide them with grey or brown felt, white felt, rulers, glue, scissors, and cheap headbands. Instruct them to cut out large triangles – between 4 and 6 inches tall – from the colored felt, and smaller triangles from the white felt. They can then take the colored triangles and wrap the bottoms around the headband so that they stick up, and glue the bottoms of the triangles in place. Show them how to add the white triangles to the centers to make the centers of the ears, and voilà! Your students have their own wolf ears. (Alternatively, you can glue the ears to a strip of paper, wrapped around the student’s head.)

Full-Sized Monster

Tell students that they can make themselves into a monster too! Have students work in pairs, with one pair lying down on a large piece of butcher paper, and the other student tracing an outline of the first student’s body. Then instruct them to switch places so that the second student has a tracing of her body as well. All students can then “decorate" their outlines to make them look like monsters, using markers or other craft supplies. Make sure that they give their monsters a name that sounds somewhat similar to their own!

Paper Bag Monster

Another fun way to make a monster is by attaching craft supplies to a stuffed paper bag. To do this, just help students stuff a paper lunch bag with wads of newspaper and staple the top shut. Then turn the bag upside down, and add art supplies as desired to make a monster shape. For example, a student might add a mane of yarn, button eyes, and a ribbon mouth.

These “Where the Wild Things Are" art lesson plans are fun ways to combine artistic creativity and literature. Try some out, and feel free to suggest any other ideas in the Comments section below.