This is a project I have done several times now – it is so much fun for the children to work together and produce such beautiful results. It took us (a group of eight 3 & 4 year olds) two 45 minute sessions to create this spectacular giant autumn tree.
The first step was to make lots of leaf prints in autumn colours. I gave the children small paint rollers and trays with red, yellow, brown and green paint (unmixed, so the colours would combine as they rolled). They rolled paint onto the ‘rough’ side of the leaves and then we placed the leaves face down onto large sheets of paper, placed a layer of paper over the top and pressed/rubbed carefully with our hands to make the prints. When they were dry I cut them all out ready for next time.
At the next session, the children worked together to draw a huge picture of a tree, using themselves as templates! An enormous sheet of paper (about 1.5m x 1.5m) was laid out on the floor, and the first child lay down and spread out her arms like branches. Another child drew around her (except for between her legs) and, hey presto, the legs and body became the tree trunk, the arms made great branches, and the fingers became twigs! After drawing around several more children with their arms in different positions we had the basic shape of a tree, and the kids added a few more hands on each branch until it looked convincing.
Then they painted the tree brown and used the edges of pieces of cardboard to print green blades of grass. They also printed a border of autumn colours using small sponge squares. Finally, they glued on all the leaf prints we made at the previous session, making sure that some of them had fallen to the ground!
They were so proud of the final picture!