If you watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics you saw Sarah McLaughlin singing among tall painted trees. They were a homage to West coast painter Emily Carr , a personal favorite and not as well known outside of Canada. I have been waiting to do a fine art reproduction craft since it has been a while and this was the perfect link to recent events ! No matter if your child saw the ceremonies or not trees are something they can relate to.
- Gather your materials. This project although has a set end result we focused on all different ways to paint, so we are using multiple tools. You will need some coffee filters, brown or white paper, blue paper, glue, scissors, a roller, a glass sponge, an eye dropper, some blue, green and brown paint as well as some green food coloring.
- Start by showing your child pictures of Emily Carr’s work online, in books or if you are lucky enough to have a real one near by at a museum. Talk about the trees, the colors and ask what they like and don’t like.
- Start by painting the trunks. We used a foam roller. My son pretended he was a steam roller and did this for a long long time!
- Next hand them the sky, we used blue paper but white or pale green would both work perfectly. I put green and blue paint in a dish for him to use with the glass sponge. If you follow me on twitter you may have seen my tweet saying my son announced he was Jackson Pollack as he splattered the paint- this was when he said that!
- Time for green food dye! Using an eye dropper suck up the food dye, and drop on the coffee filters. Have wet wipes on hand, my fingers are still green .
- Let everything dry.
- Cut out the trunks
- Cut the filters into tree tops. I did this step for my son because his cutting skills aren’t yet developed enough . If your child is able invite them to do it, I did ask him if he wanted spiky trees or rounded trees!
- Time to glue. Add three long lines. I added the first and then he did the rest.
- Add your trunks.
- Add glue for the tree tops
- Add the tree tops and let dry.
Pablo’s Tree by Pat Mora is a great book. The author has successfully integrated so many wonderful things into one still entertaining and engaging book. The story is about Pablo who is excited to go to his grandfather’s house to celebrate his birthday. See his Lito ( grandfather) has a wonderful tradition of decorating his tree every year to celebrate Pablo’s birthday. The book explains that this started before Pablo was even born, when his mom told her father that she would be adopting a baby. I love that this book is about a multi generation family, includes adoption without it being the only subject in the book, and it’s multi lingual text ( Spanish and English) . It’s a gem, oh and my son loved it too!
A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn is another book in her Kissing Hand series. Chester is not so happy about having a little brother and suggests that he gives him back! I love that jealousy doesn’t stem over toys or material things but rather over Mama giving his little brother a kissing hand too. My mom has always called me sunshine and I will grudgingly admit that I do not like it when someone else earns this name, it’s an instinctual reaction and I am in my 30s! When Chester raccoon bursts into tears kids and adults a like can relate to it. Mam raccoon handles it beautifully and Chester understands that no matter how much love a mama has for one child it doesn’t take any way from others. This book was a great vehicle for discussion about our upcomming arrival and I urge other parents dealing with a new sibling or jealousy to check it out.
A Tree for Emmy by Mary Ann Rodman was a huge hit with my son who took a real liking to Emmy the “stubborn and a little bit wild ” main character of this book. She loves the Mimosa tree in her grandma’s yard and decides more than anything she wants her own for her birthday. Unfortunately they are wild and no nursery carries them. She is distraught and arguably a little bratty when disappointed but as luck would have it when she visits her grandma again she notices a shoot growing! I like how independent Emmy is , and must admit to taking great pleasure in my son noticing Emmy’s baby sister in a sling in one illustration! Very cute book!