When you approach art projects it is good to ask yourself what is your objective or goal. There are 2 broad categories that projects can fall into- open ended or closed ended. Open ended projects are my favorites. These projects are focused on the process as opposed to the product and allow for imagination and flights of fancy. Want to put the clouds on the bottom and the grass on top. Great! Open ended projects will not necessarily look like the sample. They are child directed and simply ask that you provide the materials and some inspiration. Some kids will not even need the inspiration.
But also important are closed ended projects. These projects have a more specific product in mind. We are making a sheep using cotton balls. We put the cotton balls on the paper in a certain spot to achieve artwork that looks similar to the example given. These projects were the gold standard of preschools and there was a big movement away from them. But they are important for kids. There are times in life where you need to follow directions. Visual skills are sharpened as kids notice details and process them into actions of their own. Product driven projects sharpen listening skills as well.
Figuring out your goal for projects can keep the process stress free for you and your kids and allows for you to make sure you are offering both kinds of opportunities.
Do you have a favorite project? Is it open or closed ended? Which kind is easier for you to facilitate??