Chances are if you ask your child to draw a tree, this is the kind of thing you're gonna get. Am I right? Ok ok... I know you're child is Picasso - so is mine but - if I'm honest with you and myself - when she draws a tree - she draws something along these lines.
Now, in truth, this isn't the full picture of a tree is it? If we think about it for more than a moment, this is only half the picture! A whole network of beautiful roots underground gets completely ignored when we try to depict a tree. I don't think I realized how this so strikingly until I visited Cambodia many years ago - before children. Suddenly, I was able to see the full power and impact of tree roots at the Ta Prohm temples. Here is an image I took of a small doorway overtaken by roots. Enchanting huh?
Want to share the enchantment with your little observer? Try this simple nature journal entry:
1. Settle in near your favourite tree.
If you have one you visit regularly that has become "your" tree - lay out a blanket near it. Otherwise, just choose a tree that feels right! Next, walk several meters away and survey the tree from a distance. What do you see? Leaves, branches, needles, a trunk? Next, examine the tree up close - perhaps some roots are even visible above the ground! Explain to your little observer that trees have a whole network of roots below the ground that we can't see. That's how the tree drinks and eats!
2. Draw a line across the center of a blank page
In the top section of the page ask your child to use crayons or pencil crayons to capture all the parts of the tree that she can see! Once that is done, ask your child to draw a root network of squiggly and wiggly roots that crisscross the bottom of the page. (Accurate proportions aren't important at this stage. Mostly you want to capture the idea that the roots of the tree have equal value to those portions of it that we see above the ground).
3. Ask, "What do you think lives in the top part of the tree & what lives under ground?"
Once you have sketched both areas of the tree, explain to your child that this tree is a resting place and home to many creatures. Once you've identified a few things that live in it's branches and trunk sketch them into the picture. Beautiful! Now... what might live in and among the roots? Hmmmm... let's imagine! Sketch in whatever you think might live there too and feel free to use your imagination freely here. All answers are right so long as your little ones are connecting with nature. Never feel you can't make targeted use of technology in these scenarios either. If you have a tablet or a phone you want to use to explore underground animals and bugs with - feel free!
There we have it! A fun and uber-simple nature journal entry for preschoolers and for you too! If you're craving more nature journal entries for the season take a peek at a preview of the Fall Semester... And hey! Let me know what kinds of discoveries you make when you're out and about.
8 Weeks in Fall
The Seasonal Lessons are designed to help you spend more quality time with your little one exploring the arts and nature. All Seasons are digital purchases which provide lifetime access to a secure, members-only section of the Artsy Startsy web site.
This Season Includes: