I love being outside. As a teacher, I tried to adapt as many classroom activities as possible for the outdoors. As a parent I have tried to continue this practice. This year’s mild winter is helping. My four year old wanted to paint today. I usually do not drag the easel outside until well into June, but today’s thermometer reading of seventy degrees made for perfect outdoor painting weather. We set up at the front of the yard where the crocuses were beginning to bloom. I encouraged my son to take a close look at the flowers, the color of them and the shape of them. He investigated and decided which colors he would need to recreate each flower on paper.
He honed his observation skills, gained knowledge about the natural world and learned about expressing what he experiences through painting.
He discovered we did not have some of the paint colors he needed and was able to experiment with color mixing to get the right shade.
Examining the properties of several different flowers allowed him to compare and contrast. He noticed that while they all had green leaves, some leaves were thicker than others. He then chose the thickness of the paint brush that best suited the leaf.
Science and art are natural companions. Exploring the natural world helps children gain crucial skills such as observation, classification, comparing and contrasting, experimentation and investigation. Expressing what they have learned through painting, drawing or any other art medium gives them the opportunity to share their perspective on what they have experienced. The accuracy of the art work is not important. The experience of making it is. Allowing a child to express themselves through art opens the door to other creative thinking opportunities.
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