Cave Clues

Cave Clues lesson plan

Explore the mysteries of caves as you create original crayon resist cave scenes.

  • 1.

    What is a cave? It is an underground space with little or no light and constant moisture. What other environmental characteristics can you find about caves? What traits would be important or unnecessary for animals that live in caves? How about eyesight or bright skin color? What do caves provide for animals or people? What else besides safety, shelter, protection from weather, and privacy?

  • 2.

    The first record of art is found in a cave in Lascaux, France, in the Verzere Valley. This art was drawn 35,000 years ago. Early cave art, mostly animal drawings, is also found in Australia, Africa, and Spain.

  • 3.

    To design your own cave art, think first about what you might find inside. Which animals or people live there? What are the colors, textures, and shapes found in your cave? Using Crayola® Construction Paper™ Crayons on a large sheet of paper, make your cave come alive with seen and unseen life. Think about animals, water, rock walls, or cave-dwelling people. You might draw clues about cave life, such as the soft bed on which a bear would sleep during hibernation.

  • 4.

    Cover your work area with newspaper. Paint your cave art with Crayola Washable Paint and Paint Brushes. Blend colors to look like damp, rocky surfaces inside caves. Dry. Your crayon cave art will pop off the walls!


  • Children research cave environments and their uses by animals and humans.
  • Students connect the traits of cave-dwelling creatures to their cave environments.
  • Students study early cave art and recreate crayon-resist cave scenes.


  • Early cave artists made colors by mixing manganese (grayish-white metal), ocher, and charcoal with animal fat. They applied the color pigments with sticks, reeds, and sometimes brushes. In another technique, they used their hand as a stencil and blew grou
  • The unique environment of caves helped to preserve artwork for thousands of years. Lime from dripping water fossilized the paintings, turning the art into stone. Research what lime is and does. How are paintings preserved today?
  • In Australia, the direct descendants of that country's prehistoric artists care for cave paintings today. They have lived continuously in this area for 40,000 years. What other groups of people care for their ancestors' arts and traditions today?
  • Read aloud the short nonfiction story about caving in Tom McGinnis's <i>Going to Extremes</i>. It is a hair-raising adventure about traveling in a cave.