100 Essential Words All Elementary Students Should Learn

Vocabulary is an essential part of the elementary art room. Many of the students who walk into an art room for the very first time won’t know the art-based words that are second nature to us. I’ve even had 5th graders transfer to my school who have never had art before. It is important for me to know which words to focus on to help them find success in middle and high school.

Here is a list of essential elementary art vocabulary words.

For easy navigation, we grouped similar ideas and concepts together. We also broke larger concepts down into related vocabulary.

This list is not a comprehensive look at every word an elementary artist would encounter. Instead, it focuses on the core art ideas that we want our students to understand. Keep in mind it is important to review and revisit all vocabulary words no matter when a student first experiences art.

downloadable list

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Do you have any brilliant ways to teach or review important vocabulary words?

Did we miss a word that you think is essential? Let us know your thoughts!

Jennifer Borel

Jennifer is an middle school art teacher in Kansas who is passionate about creating an organized, well-managed environment where students feel comfortable to learn and explore.


  • artambassadors

    the top picture shows what looks like vocabulary cards, are those available?

    • My district made those for us to use, so unfortunately I have no available card template to send. Sorry about that!

  • Kathleen Marcy

    Hello! I would love to post an image of this list on our blog (for teachers who teach Art in English in Spanish elementary schools.) It’s mostly used by teachers at our own school, but it is a public blog. Would that be okay? I would provide a link to this post.

    • Sure, Kathleen! As long as you link back to the original article on AOE, feel free to share away! Thank you for asking.

      • Kathleen Marcy

        Great! Thanks!

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