Aug 12, 2015

Toddler Art Class: Painting Branches

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

cover art Fall is not easy / Kelley, Marty

 What Kids Do:  paint the branch with a brush
paint the branch with their hands
 notice and enjoy the wobbliness of a branch balanced across a table
 Discover that mixing blue and yellow paint makes a lovely shade of green!
paint the tip of a branch yellow

paint the WHOLE tip
 Or just touch the tip of the branch...
 or paint the table
 Getting fancy here--TWO brushes!  Two hands!
 Wow!  Three brushes, two hands?!
 Amazing!  Three brushes, all painting together!
 When the branches were full, students wandered around in the grassy area beside the sidewalk (behind our library) and picked up other nature they could paint:  Pinecones,

 Painting with pine needles,
 And painting on leaves!

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!

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