Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Trees With Cork-Stamped Leaves

I had the best time today with about 60 kindergardeners! I was asked to do an art project with them as part of a Fall-themed day their teachers had created for them. It was wonderful--the children were so happy and they were able to explore outside, do some fun movement activities (I joined in too!) and they also did leaf rubbings and this stamping project with me. Thank you so much to the Kindergarten teachers at Clark Elementary School for allowing me to come in for the afternoon.

This picture has a flurry of fall leaves
flying wildly all over--and note the piles on the ground.
I'm so glad I'm not raking all of those leaves up!

I shared a nice little book called "Leaf Jumpers," by Carole Gerber with the children. This book was different than I expected--it's a fiction book. It described the sound, shapes and colors of leaves and identifies eight different kinds of leaf shapes within its pages. This would be a great book to read before going on a leaf hunt! It got us thinking about the colors and shapes of leaves. It also had some very poetic ways of describing the colors of the leaves: "...flame bright and vivid like a match." The back of the book has a little page on the science of leaves and why they change color.

I had the children listen carefully since this project had tracing, cutting, gluing and stamping. We need to listen when doing so much stuff with our art.  I then gave them a quick demo on how to stamp using the corks: dip in paint then stamp gently on paper--no smooshing the cork around! We aren't painting with a brush. It's up and down only.

Next we went over to our tables and began to work. What a great time and a lovely lesson on color and printmaking. Enjoy!

Fall Cork-stamped Trees

Supplies Needed:
  • One 12" x 18" piece of construction paper for background (light blue or whatever color you'd like)
  • One 9" x 12" piece of brown construction paper for tree trunk and branches
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Wine Corks
  • Paper plates for paint palettes
  • Red, Orange, Yellow, and Brown Tempera Paint
  • Newspapers to cover work surface

1. Trace the child's hand and part of his/her forearm onto the brown paper. This will be the trunk and branches of the tree. Cut the tracing out (most of the children were fine with this--we only lost a couple paper fingers, er, I mean, branches. Glue the trunk and branches to the background paper, making sure the base of your tree trunk is at the bottom of the page.

2. Dip the cork into the paint and stamp leaves all over the paper, filling your tree with beautiful colored leaves!  It's important to have the children fill the ENTIRE top of the tree with leaves--not just a couple along the edges of the branches! No naked trees--this isn't winter. Make sure you get all four colors of paint on your tree.

That's it! A beautiful fall keepsake!

Fall Leaf Rubbings:

When the children were done, they could move over to a couple tables where I had long sheets of newsprint from a roll, taped down. Under the paper, I had placed different types of leaves. They then could use flat-sided crayons to do rubbings and discover the different leaves I had "hidden" under the paper. This was a nice project to keep little hands busy for the last five minutes of class.

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