painted paper collages
This is a good when teaching illustration, emulating Eric Carle and Leo Lionni. I've done this grade 1-8 with equal success:
everyone is handed 5-6 sheets of 9x12 (you can also have a group of kids painting on a long length of white butcher paper)
Pass out primary and secondary colors (no black) and a little white (I use student acrylics by the gallon but tempera will do fine)in 3 oz bathroom cups with a stubby brush.
Have students fill up pages of paper with color and patterns (I also pass out bits of foam pipe insulation to print fun circular marks). I demonstrate how to dry brush the paint on so that it dries quickly (and avoids gobby sheets of paper)and also to demonstrate glazing effects (my paint is quite transparent).
Let the sheets dry and use in collage work the next session. Beats using construction paper and the color is impressive. Easy success for all students.
What is so terrible about art is that the further one advances in it, the more tightly one is committed to an extreme and nearly impossible objective.