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Graffiti and Street Art Topic Guide

Graffiti and street art are popular art forms. Although people have been writing on walls for thousands of years, this type of art has become extremely popular since the 1970s.

Some people disapprove of this kind of art, saying that it is vandalism. Others enjoy it, and some cities encourage street artists to decorate their streets.

Teach your children about graffiti and street art using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Using pastels, ask children to write their names in a graffiti style.
  • Watch the video clip below (Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?) and then have a class debate about whether graffiti is art or vandalism.
  • Use chalk on the playground or walls to create graffiti that will wash away.
  • Write an acrostic poem using the word “graffiti”.
  • Ask children to read this short history of street art and answer the questions at the bottom as a comprehension activity.
  • Ask the children to design their own stencils, which can be cut out of cardboard. Use spray paint to create an image in the style of Banksy. There are some great ideas in this blog post, scroll down to see how to create your own spray paints.
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Resources

The Display Letters Pack

Graffiti Facts

  • The word graffiti comes from the Italian word “graffio”, meaning “scratch”.
  • Thousands of pieces of graffiti have been found on the walls of the Roman city of Pompeii.
  • The British street artist Banksy is anonymous, so no one knows who he really is.
  • American street artist Keith Haring made hundreds of drawings on blank advertisement boards on the New York subway.

Videos

Graffiti: Art or vandalism?

This short news clip is a good way to stimulate debate about this issue.

Running time: 2:11

David Zinn: Street art that washes away in the rain

This video could be used to give children some inspiration for making their own chalk street art.

Running time: 2:33

Blek Le Rat : The Wall : 3 minute wonder

Watch artist Blek the Rat create an artwork using stencils.

Running time: 3:15

Graffiti Word Design

A step-by-step guide to creating a graffiti word design.

Running time: 10:34

Books

Banksy Graffitied Walls and Wasn't Sorry

A book for younger children exploring Banksy’s work.

Learn Drawing Graffiti

A book of graffiti activities for children.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

This biography from the “Little People, Big Dreams” series is perfect for introducing the work of Basquiat.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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