- Drawing materials including paper, pencils, colored pencils
- White clay, rolling pins, blunt plastic knives
- Plastic magnifying glasses
- Tempera paint and brushes
- Plastic bags
- Plastic trays or plates for clay
- Fine motor
- Creative thinking
1. Plan a nature walk with children to collect leaves, rocks, acorns, shells, plants, and twigs. Distribute plastic bags for children to use to hold their collections. Invite them to then sort their collections and discuss what they found. Encourage them to notice different textures, sizes, shapes, and scents. Pass around magnifying glasses so that they can observe the details.
2. On a tabletop or floor, make a few different groupings of the items for children to draw. Provide them with art materials and keep magnifying glasses available. When finished, invite everyone to share their work.
3. Keep materials available to use the following day. This time, offer self-drying white clay. Roll the clay out into sheets and cut them into pieces so that each child has one. Invite children to use the found items to make imprints into the clay. Set aside the clay imprints to dry.
4. Once dry, the imprints can be used for printmaking activities. Provide children with a variety of washable tempera paints and suggest they paint a thin layer of paint over the clay imprints. Offer them paper to press onto the clay. Remind children that they can wipe off the paint and change colors to create a variety of prints.
5. Suggest they work together to create an exhibit of all of their artwork. Include their dictations describing the process of the activity and their thoughts about the experience.
Remember: If observational drawings are a new experience for children, it may take time for them to understand the concept of being able to look and draw at the same time.
Beauty All Around: Suggest families take a walk with their child in their yard, neighborhood, or park. Request that they talk about things that they see, focusing on all the things that they find beautiful.
CURRICULUM CONNECTION: SCIENCE
Learning About Leaves: Assist children in finding out the names of the different types of leaves they collected. Invite them to make a book about leaves using some of their drawings and prints as illustrations.
How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
Leaf Man by Lois Elhert
Picnic with Monet by Julie Merberg