Choosing non-traditional (yet safe) surfaces for kids to paint on can be very motivating!
Art Project: Painting Branches
branches (I used ones that were no longer connected to a living tree, but I suppose you could paint on actual trees if you preferred?)
containers for paint
Fall is not easy / Kelley, Marty
What Kids Do: paint the branch with a brush
paint the tip of a branch yellow
paint the WHOLE tip
Variations to try:I chose to use large branches because I wanted to encourage collaboration or at least help parents to think beyond the artwork that their kid is creating and more about "What emotions is my child experiencing while creating this art?" Everyone painting one branch took away some of the individual ownership of the art and no one took these branches home, so parents could just relax and watch and see what was going to happen. You could also choose to go the opposite direction and give all the kids small sticks to paint (though if you have a very young class, be wary of them wanting to eat the sticks).
Also, I meant to show the kids pictures of the painted trees in and around Chicago, but forgot to do so. They're so cool!