It’s spring and all the trees have put on their best greenies. Kiddo observed that on some trees, leaves appear and disappear over time while others stay the same throughout the year. We’d also seen birds picking pieces of plastic and dried grass out in the garden so I reckon it’s a great opportunity to talk to her about seasonal changes and how it affect us and the world at large.
Naturally Kiddo got excited about wanting to make her own bird nests but I’d told her that they will only be done if we make a tree to house the nests first. 😉
What you need are:
- paper + colour paper
- crayons, markers
- sticky putty
- recycled food containers (preferably bowl types)
- foam netting (usually used to package fruits)
- strips of brown paper
- suction cups
- pliers/screwdriver/anything to drill a hole on the containers
- Get kiddo to plan out how her tree MAY look like. It’s just to prep her mental processes and expectations later. It’s also a good time to explain to her that leaves tend to grow on branches, how branches ‘branch’ out of trunk and how leaves look like. Visual/photo references are also pretty handy to have around at this stage.
- Cut up broad strips of paper for the trunk and branches.
- Create frottage on these with crayons. We got this done over the ventilation grill of a heater (cos that’s the nearest thing we have. The heater was off of cos!). It’ll be good if there is a variety of interesting textures to work from.
- Demonstrate how a leaf / types of leaves may be drawn. Do not fuss over detailing on the leaves but encourage her to make leaves of different sizes, shapes and colours (talk about how seasonal changes create different colours in leaves).
- Make sure that she draws and cuts ‘a lot of leaves’ cos they are for the tree.
- While kiddo is busy drawing and cutting up leaves (yes, it’ll take a while), the nests get prepped. They are easy to make but make sure they are done away from kiddo as it involves using sharp instruments.
- Kiddo may need a break from the monotony of leaves-cutting, so do swap ‘jobs’ and get her to help to ‘dress up’ the nests after the foam netting is wrapped round the bowls from time to time. Remember, sharing ‘jobscopes’ creates a sense of collaboration!
- Weave in the strips where possible so that they do not drop off.
- When that’s done, it’s time to piece together the tree. The tree is deliberately made from modular pieces so that they can be rearranged/grow over time. I like having kiddo work on the mirror cos she gets to see herself working and the scale of her work in relation to her size.
- Remind her that leaves go on branches and get her to revisit her drawing before placing the nests. It’d be good to have her drawing stuck next to the tree at this point. It will also serve to remind her how much/far she has done 😉
- Cut up leftover strips to make beddings for her birdy-occupants.
- Lastly, let her play out the Mummy Bird role by getting her to move her homemade birdy friends into their new pads. Of cos it’d be nice to make some mini eggs out of tissue paper balls and surprise kiddo by leaving little treats (like stickers) in the nests from time to time.
- Since Xmas is round the corner, perhaps we may even get round to transforming this into something quite festive.