In this article, we will explore various graphic design activities for kids. Graphic design is such a fun and creative hobby. It's a discipline that many people can benefit from, which is why it is an amazing idea to have kids start practicing early!
There will be both beginner and intermediate projects listed below, in which kids can learn more about the design techniques and principles - all from the comfort of their own homes.
But as many of us know, nature and the outdoors is our world’s greatest gift of inspiration to us all. So although these projects can easily be done indoors, keep reading to find out how you can also utilize mother nature in your creative projects!
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Try graphic design projects for beginners
Do not worry if you've never done anything related to graphic design before! Even if you think graphic design is complicated and intimidating, it really is nothing to be afraid of. Graphic design is all around us, and the skills used to design are skills that we already have within every single one of us.
Try out these graphic design projects if you think you are a beginner, and you will start to notice that you are so much more of a designer than you thought!
1. Problem Solver
There are many inventions in our world, but that does not necessarily mean they are flawless. Oftentimes, they need to be remade over and over again with different changes made to it until there are little to no problems.
Graphic designers are problem solvers above all else. This creative exercise is amazing for kids of all ages because it helps us become quick thinkers and innovators.
- Index cards
Have a friend, parent, or even a sibling write down items on index cards. One item per card. For example, your dad can write “juicer” on one index card, “car cup holder” on the next card, and “chopsticks” on the third index card.
After there is a pile of filled out index cards, you will now begin this exercise. Whoever you are playing this with will then read one of their index cards aloud and start the timer at 3 minutes.
In those three minutes, write (or draw too!) all of the different ideas that come to mind when you hear that word. How can you make it better? For example, for “car cup holder” you can make a list of how to improve it. Your list can look like this:
- Wider for bigger cans
- Colorful so passengers can see it clearly
- Holds cup at bottom AND top
After the three minutes are up, you can move on to another index card.
When you feel like it is time, you can switch places with the person you are playing with and now you can write words on index cards and be the timer!
2. Color Drive
Whenever we are on a drive, we do not really take the time to look out of the car window and appreciate our surroundings. If you really take the time to look, you will see that there are so many beautiful things in our world- and so many colors!
Color drive is the best quick and easy game for long road trips or even quick drives while running errands. Kids from 1st to 4th grade can have a lot of fun with this game!
- Your eyes!
- Pencil and notebook (optional)
With the people you are on the ride with, choose a color. For example, let’s say you chose red.
On your drive, pay close attention to everything that is red: especially logos and signage!
You can go the whole ride looking out for just one color, or at any given moment you can switch it up and change the color. For example, you started with red and observed all of the stores that had a red logo, and now you and your family switched the color to green! It might be more or a challenge, but it keeps the game exciting.
If you want, you can make a list in your notebook of all of your observations.
3. Animal Alphabet
There are 26 letters in the alphabet, and hundreds of animals in our world! One of the many skills graphic designers have is creatively transforming something into something completely different.
Animal alphabet is a project in which you can transform something as traditional as our alphabet into something innovative and fun! Kids from 1st to 4th grade would love this project.
- Computer and printer (optional)
- Tracing paper (optional)
- Colored pencils, markers, crayons
Start by finding a font online and printing out a sheet of paper with the entire alphabet on it. If you do not have a printer, you can also just write down the alphabet on your own in whatever font you choose.
Save this paper as a reference, and go ahead and get another piece of paper.
On the second sheet of paper, draw the alphabet again but for each letter, try to transform it into an animal that starts with the same letter. For example, for the letter “C” you can draw a nose with whiskers on it. C is for “cat”!
Do this for every single letter, until you have a sheet of paper filled with all different types of animals. Don’t forget to color them in too!
Explore more graphic design activities for kids
Have you always been creative? Or have you taken art classes before? If so, these next few projects are perfect for you! These projects are designed to keep young creatives' momentum high.
4. Real World vs. CMYK
A common misconception is that graphic design is all about the things we can create on our computers. Even though technology plays a huge part in graphic design, projects are not only to be done digitally, but can also be done using real world items we find beyond the screen.
Real World vs. CMYK is the perfect way to remind us to use our resources and not fully depend on our laptops! It also helps us compare the difference in color between print and nature. This is a project designed for kids from the 5th to 9th grade!
- Nature findings
- Index cards
Start by taking a safe walk around your neighborhood. Gather different elements of nature: leaves, flowers, grass- whatever catches your eye and you think is beautiful!
On one side of an index card, glue all of your nature findings. This is meant to be abstract; meaning it is okay if you glue your nature findings and it does not look like anything in particular! Try to make it look as pretty as possible.
Next, find similar colors that match your findings in a magazine and cut them all out. For example, you found a pink flower while walking in your neighborhood. To match, you cut out a square from
5. New Restaurant In Town
Restaurants all have such unique branding. When you go to Rainforest Cáfe, it is a tropical experience. When you eat at Goofy’s Kitchen, you are welcomed by all of the Disney characters. We do not realize that behind all of these restaurants with an interesting theme is a talented graphic designer, or maybe even an entire graphic design team!
New Restaurant In Town is a cool project to learn more about branding design. 5th to 9th graders would totally enjoy this.
- Colored pencils, markers, crayons
- Laptop/ Desktop (if available)
- Printer (if available)
Start by thinking of the food your restaurant would serve, and that will probably inspire your theme too. Make a list or mindmap of all your ideas.
Next, sketch different ideas for your logo and the colors you want to use. This requires a lot of thought and following the design thinking process, so spend a couple of days on this step before finalizing.
Once you picked a logo, now you can make all the other materials you need to open your restaurant! Sketch different ideas for posters and menus!
If you are able to, go on Canva and bring your vision to life. If you do not have access to a computer, you can also just draw your final designs on a separate paper from your sketches, and color it in to look nice!
You can print out everything and even act out being in your restaurant!
6. Pasta Packaged My Way
Pasta comes in all different shapes and forms. We might think there is just the pasta we see in our spaghetti, but if you do a quick search on the web, you will find that Kraft designs some of their pasta to match some pretty fun themes. Kraft has made a Spongebob pasta, Paw Patrol Pasta, and even pasta in the shape of the characters from Despicable Me!
What is your favorite show or video game? Think about if you worked for Kraft, what pasta would you create?
Pasta Packaged My Way is a fun activity where you will not only design your very own pasta, but you will also design the box it comes in. This is a valuable project, because packaging design is a great skill to have as a graphic designer.
- Crayons, Markers Colored Pencils
- Laptop/ Desktop/ Phone (Internet used for research)
Take 5-10 minutes to research the different pasta shapes that already exist. This is also a great time to get inspired!
Create a mind map or list of all the different pasta you want to design.
Choose your best idea, and on a sheet of paper, draw your different pasta designs.
Color it in! Yellow is an awesome color for pasta, but you can also be creative and mix other colors with yellow or try a different mix.
After you finish designing what your pasta will look like, come up with a name for it! For example, if you chose to do Pokemon pasta, you can call your creation “Pokepasta”.
Whatever name you choose, think about how you would want to advertise this product. Do you want the packaging to be colorful and fun? Sophisticated? Spend about 10 minutes sketching how you would design the box of your pasta.
Finalize your packaging design by picking the best sketch, and redrawing it on a fresh new piece of paper.
After finalizing your design, color in the packaging. By the end of this project, you should have two pieces of paper filled with your pasta designs and packaging designs! Congratulations, you are now a packaging designer.
7. Poetry Book
No matter how old we are, we all have experiences and feelings we can share with the world. One of the many amazing things about graphic design is that it goes hand-in-hand with our other hobbies we love so much- like writing!
This project is for those who love to write just as much as they love to design! This poetry book might take more time than the other projects because it requires designing the covers of the book plus writing the content in it; however, even if this project might take longer, it is the truest test of your commitment to your creative process. Are you up for the challenge?
Poetry Book is a project designed for 5th to 9th graders.
- Laptop/ desktop (if available)
- Printer (if available)
- Colored pencils, markers, crayons (alternative to computer)
Brainstorm what you want your poetry book to be about. Your family? Your friends? The time you went on vacation? Whatever you choose to write about, make sure it is something that is fun to you! If you choose a topic that can get boring, it may be difficult to finish this project! Choose something you love to write about!
Take some time to write some poems. Your book does not have to be super long. Try to aim for 5-10 poems. (You can never go wrong with writing one poem every other day! Space it out so you do not overwork yourself.)
After writing all your poems, do you notice a common theme? Now is the time to start brainstorming how you want the covers of your book to look like! Sketch your ideas out on paper.
Finalize your design by choosing your favorite sketch. You are now ready to go digital!
Using Canva, create the book cover of your dreams. Type out all of your poems as well. Once you feel like you did all that you can with making this poetry book come to life, then you are done!
You can print out your poetry book and staple it together.
If you do not have access to a computer or printer, you can always just gather pieces of paper and write out your poems and draw your own cover. This is just as amazing as using technology, and shows how great your craftsmanship is!
Enjoy graphic design activities for kids
Hopefully these projects keep you inspired at home, and motivate you to continue exercising your creative mind! Be sure to take pictures of your projects, too. That way you can see the progress you make throughout the years as you continue building your artistic skills.
Whether you start off as a complete beginner with no design background, or someone who finds that the arts comes so naturally to them, there is always more to learn! We are all capable of tapping into our potential and being an amazing designer.
Learn even more with graphic design for kids classes, taught by engaging experts. Join our live online Budding Digital Artist class to explore all sorts of artistic mediums and learn fundamental skills, or for older students, join our live online Canva classes to learn how to harness this free dynamic platform to create awesome digital designs quickly.
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Written by Marielle Cruz Cabillo, a Create & Learn instructor who has a BS in Visual Communication Design with a Minor in Marketing, and has taught children for 6 years.