One of my pet peeves in children's art work is the use of cliches like hearts, rainbows, and suns in the corner, which have a bad habit of appearing in drawings willy-nilly, just because the student is falling back on known shapes rather than exploring new ones. Some will disagree with me, but that's where my thinking is. Anyway, that doesn't mean I dislike hearts, rainbows, or suns... I just want them to be necessary in the art work.
In this activity, the heart is the only subject matter. It is an easy, easy, easy activity that is practically foolproof. It requires no prep; all that's needed is white construction paper (we used 9x12, but a bit smaller would work, too) and crayons. To introduce the activity, I showed an example of a piece of art work by Jim Dines, who has done tons of art with hearts. I had students tell what they noticed and wrote their responses on the board next to the photograph (see photo at the end of this post). After this introduction, we reviewed warm and cool colors and I explained that students would need to draw a very large heart (I demonstrated) and that they would fill the heart with warm or cool colors (their choice) and the background with the opposite palette. I gave a short little demonstration to show how to color to make it look "markerish" .... that was one of the students' observations.... and then sent them off to go to work. I did wander around and show some of the students individually how to put color in smallish patches, but otherwise they were pretty much on their own.
When the color was done, most students outlined the heart with black crayon, then chose a mounting color that was from the same palette as the colors used in the heart. This took most students about an hour to complete, and some of them worked during lunch time. It turned out to the a perfect activity for a rainy, rainy Friday in a second grade classroom!