All About Me: Family Trees
Over the past couple of months, I have had the privilege of teaching a workshop to three- through five-year-old children called All About Me. The All About Me classes provide students with projects that allow them to explore their sense of self and feel connected to the world they live in through a variety of hands-on projects.
Now that my girls are six and seven years old, I had to put myself back in the developmental shoes of three-year-olds. What I love about working with that age group is that it’s all about the materials. By presenting children with one medium at a time, they are able to fully explore the look, feel, and texture of each item while building their self-confidence and strengthening their fine motor skills.
One week we made family trees. After reading The Family Book by Todd Parr, we talked about family trees and how making them is a fun way to create a picture that includes everyone in their family. We reviewed the cover of The Family Book as an example of one way you can make a family tree. Next, we discussed the different parts of a tree: trunk, leaves, branches leaves, etc. Each child received a large (18 x 24) piece of watercolor paper (I just love the texture) and was invited to fill the page with a drawing of a tree, incorporating all of the parts we had just discussed. We provided oil pastels and crayons to draw with. Once the drawings were complete, a variety of papers (origami paper in a variety of shades of green) were given out, along with child-sized scissors. One thing I rediscovered was the fact that cutting paper with appropriate scissors is a beloved activity for three-year-olds. Some of them could have cut for the entire workshop! Next came the skin-tone paints and sponges that were shaped like people. Each child received a plastic tray, a bit of paint (they chose the colors that matched their skin tones), and some sponges. They dipped their sponges into the paint and added their family members to their trees. The parents sat by their sides and wrote down the names that corresponded to each person. The results were delightful and each tree was wonderfully unique!
A special thanks goes out to Jami, who is an amazing teacher and the inspiration behind this project.