Projects, Science

Trees – without which there would be no life.

This week, when I asked what we should learn about, Mr. 3 chose to learn about trees.

We read “All About Trees” in our book Curiositree: Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature – Jacket unfolds into a huge wall poster!“>Natural World. It is just 3 pages in this book that breaks down the different parts of trees, shows different leaves for identification, and provides examples of the many creatures that live from or in trees, but the book also provides important information on some of the creatures that live in the trees, or how photosynthesis works, and so much more.

Photosynthesis: The process by which plants use sunlight to produce their own food and “ultimately for every creature on the planet” (Natural World, page 58) and as a by product they release oxygen for us to breathe. Photosynthesis. I like hearing my 3 year old say that word, it really makes me feel like this whole homeschool thing can work.

My favorite fact about trees is that they provide food and shelter for many different kinds of creatures. From the fungi that help decompose it at the end of a tree’s very VERY long life (some oaks can live up to 600 years!) to the owls, birds, squirrels, and bugs that nest among its branches or in it’s trunk. You would not guess that from looking at tree, but maybe we should look a little closer.

img_6107Other than reading, we’ve had some tree related activities to help expose him and encourage him to learn more.

1. In a rare moment of sunshine we took the dog on a walk and I pointed out how different some of the trees are. “These trees are so tall, that one has white blossoms, this one has red, look at this leaf it has 4 points” etc…

2.We (mostly me) collected different leaves and bunches of pine needles to bring home and try to identify.

3. We made tree art! This is a project for all ages and it can be as simple as painting trees. I provided some different drawing tools (sponge brush, Qtips, paintbrush, wine corks) in the hope that they could make different kinds of leaves with them.

img_6149I left the leaves and book out for inspiration.

I covered my table and provided only 2 cups of paint to keep it simple. 1 cup for green leaves (it’s spring!) and 1 cup for mixing red and green to make brown.

My toddler enjoyed mixing the paint.

We use Handy Art Little Masters Tempera paint, and it washes off really easily and doesn’t leave stains on the clothes. I did ask 3 to wear a smock and 1 was only in a diaper, just in case.

3’s first picture was completely his own design, and he surprised me by taking the big leaf and painting on it. He wanted to glue it on the paper so I brought him glue. img_6152

Next I painted some tree trunks for him to add leaves to, and he used the wine cork to do it.

img_6154
Baby was working hard getting paint on the tablecloth and chair, but he did most of the following painting.

img_6153
The paint comes right off with a wet washcloth, so the chair is fine! Our chairs are dark wood and white leather and it wipes of off both very easily,

And finally, mom’s gotta have fun too, so this is the picture I made:

img_6151
The whole thing lasted about twenty minutes and ended with a short bath, but it was a lot of fun!

Project Summary: Painting Trees

Supplies:

Thick paper

Tempera paint

Various brushes, Qtips, wine corks, leaves and twigs.

Instructions:

Cover your table or area to protect it, and experiment in making different leaf shapes and mixing colors for trunks or flower blossoms.

Feel free to comment below if this project was a success for you, or if you have any cool facts to share about Trees!

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