As a Sparks leader, I’m always looking for new activities that tie in with the programming provided by Girl Guides of Canada. One of the ways I do this is Pinterest – I have a whole board called Sparks Ideas where I save anything I think could work, and when I need inspiration I go back and take a look.
One of the Sparks Keepers (badges) is Going Outdoors, and one of the suggested activities is to pretend to be a tree, and to think about how a tree feels in different situations. (For the record, when its leaves fall off it’s sad and when a squirrel climbs up it, it tickles.) Scrolling through my pins, I found the perfect one: a fall tree painting project! (Note that the link in the pin takes you to a blog post written in Italian – but it has enough pictures that you get the idea! Also, Google Translate will give you a very rough idea of the words.)
Starting with white card stock – I used the spare inserts from some scrapbooking pages – each girl traced a circle at the top of the page. We used a small plate but you could use anything circular scaled to the size of the paper you pick. Then each girl painted their own trunk and a few branches – and then we took the paint brushes away. What?!?! They were confused. Then we got out… Q-Tips!
It sounds like a silly idea but it’s actually quite effective. Dabbing different fall colours onto the treetop (the circle) you get a kind of a pointillism effect. Then you can add some “leaves” falling off the tree, or piled at the base.
I love doing art with little kids, because I love to see what they can come up with and I love seeing how a group of girls working at the same table will come up with such different results. Some will be…. more abstract:
Some are always more creative than average and think outside the box. In this case a couple of girls added squirrels and even a person to their trees:
This was a great craft/art project for a number of reasons. It let the girls experiment with colours – for example, I didn’t put out orange paint, just let them mix yellow and red. This led to them experimenting with mixing other colours, like gold and green which actually made a quite tree-like colour in the end! It also let them experiment with painting – not just for paintbrushes and fingers any more! And it was also good fine motor practice for them.
A Spark at work:
I have a small group of Sparks this year (right now we are at 5) which is kind of nice in a way. It lets us have really good discussions with the girls, and also lets us as leaders get more hands-on. Tonight we both sat with the girls and participated in the art project, talking to the girls as they went along about what they were doing, what colours mixed well together, don’t mix brown and green or you’ll just get an uglier brown, etc.
Here are the leaders’ final pieces, “Amethyst” first and then mine (I go by “Sapphire” as a Spark leader):