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Neon Sugar Skulls

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Creating interactive activity to learn about Frida Kahlo and the Mexican tradition of Sugar Skulls
Skill Development:  Art
Minimum Age:  Grade 2
Messiness:  Low


Books to Read

*Reading enhancing the learning environment


This Learning Plan was used for Grade 3

Age/grade for projects are simply suggestions and may be used with other age groups. 

Some activities may not be suitable for younger children.  Supervise your children at all times.

Frida Kahlo - The Frame 1938

Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter, is known for her self-portraits and use of vibrant colors in her unique style.  Her art was inspired by nature and Mexican traditions. Sugar Skulls, a popular Mexican tradition, are typically created out of molded sugar and icing, whimsically decorated with vibrant colors. Flowers are often used to symbolize happiness and life.

Today we created our very own Sugar Skull using oil pastels and discovered how it glows in a black light.

Step 1:

Have children fold their paper in half, both directions.  Place a dot using the pencil at the top (top of skull), bottom (for the chin). For the sides, I encouraged them to pretend their skull has invisible ears and place the dots underneath where the ears would be.  Connect the dots to form your skull.

This drawing concept was inspired by Patty from Deep Space Sparkle

Sugar Skull card from grocery store

Vocabulary used:

Symmetry (same on both sides)

Radial (based around a central point) Like how the flowers are centered around the dots of the eyes.

You can have visuals of examples of designs to inspire the children but encourage them that there is not right or wrong way to create these.

Step 2:

Allow the children to create their drawings using the Neon oil pastels. They can use these just like they would a crayon.

If it breaks, don’t worry, they can continue to be used.

The smaller pieces are actually great to use with younger children as it encourages them to grip the utensil as they should a pencil.

Step 3: 

When they’re finished designing, the children will cut out the skull and glue it to a black piece of construction paper.  Have them write their name on the back lower part.

Step 4: 

Allow them to admire their creations. Have them hold them up so everyone can enjoy how unique each one is. Then, here comes the surprise….

Step 5:

Hand the children the blacklight flashlights.  Turn off all of the lights and close any blinds. Turn on any large blacklights and have children turn on their flashlights.  The Neon Oil Pastels react to the light, creating a glowing effect.

Check out our YouTube video that shows you other sugar skull interactive projects.

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Frida Kahlo inspired Neon Sugar Skulls created by students in Grade 3.  

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We have more Kahlo Inspired Art for other grades.  Check them out here.