10 Ways to Artistically Give Back this Season

Whether or not you celebrate a specific holiday during the winter months, it’s easy to agree that the focus on giving is a positive thing. We often give of our personal time or money, but what about helping your students give back using your classroom as a vehicle? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Below are 10 ways you and your students can artistically give back this season.

give back this season
1. Make festive cards and send them to a local veterans’ hospital or nursing home.

2. Ask your local grocery store to donate a paper bag for each student. Have students decorate the bags with winter designs, then give them back to the grocery store to use with customers. (Note: For this tip and 49 others to spread the word about your art program, check out this article.)

3. Have students make paper snowflakes during art class. Consider using colored paper, sequins, glitter (if you’re a fan), or other embellishments to make them extra special. Then, sneakily hang them in a common area one day after school to surprise everyone the next morning.

4. Have students create artwork for underappreciated staff members in your school. Think educational assistants, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and more. Deliver the artwork with hot chocolate and a big smile.

5. Teach students how to properly wrap gifts and curl ribbon. Then, partner with a local charitable organization to wrap gifts for families in need.

6. Have students sell simple handmade items and donate the proceeds to a local food pantry.

7. Organize a knit-a-thon to create hats, mittens and scarves for students in need.

8. Help out local wildlife. Research birds in your area that need homes for the winter. Have students collaboratively paint birdhouses to place on school grounds.

9. Have your students participate in the Memory Project, where art students create portraits for children in tough situations around the world.

10. Make a list of locations that sell work by local artists. Post it on your classroom blog or website and in the teachers’ lounge to encourage others to support artists this season.
We all know that making art makes us feel great. Why not take it a step further and use art to make others feel great too? It will be a wonderful lesson for your students and something they’re sure to remember.

Do you do any service learning projects in your classroom? 

What other ideas do you have to add to the list?


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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