DIY Storytime Art Projects : The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Our art class has jumped into a pile of fall leaves in the middle of July! While the midsummer heat beats down, we decided to take shade under the bright September trees. This project incorporates the famous short- story, "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. Have your students listen to the story on the link provided below, or read it from the book itself! It is wonderful to teach lessons of unconditional love and the beauty of selflessness through this classic storytime art project.

Finger painting trees, Summer Camp Art Class, DG Rocker's Guitar & Music School

Finger painting trees, Summer Camp Art Class, DG Rocker's Guitar & Music School

Finger painting is not only fun for kids of all ages, but also for us adults. Everyone appreciates using bare hands to blend - but why do we enjoy to paint like barbarians? It might be because throwing out the brushes creates a soothing balm and brings us multiple benefits. Here are a few.

  1. Using vivid colors stimulates your children's senses.
  2. Painting without brushes is an excellent tactile experience.
  3. By mixing primary colors, kids learn new ones which aids in intellectual development.
  4. It's a perfect way to calm the jitters, as it's emotionally soothing
  5. Finger painting strengthens the hands and fingers and helps with fine motor skills.
 Giving Trees, Summer Camp, DG Rocker's Guitar and Music School, Bklyn, NY

 Giving Trees, Summer Camp, DG Rocker's Guitar and Music School, Bklyn, NY

This project is easy to do at home. This is what you'll need to do it yourself.

  • thick painting paper from your local art store
  • a non- toxic watercolor set from you local super store/dollar store/art store
  • a small bowl of water or saturated sponge
  • a paper towel
  • your own hand-drawn tree, or tree template (provided)
  • your fingers (or toes if you wan't to get crazy)

Step 1: Save our tree template to your desktop. Before printing it out, change the layout to "landscape view" in your printer settings. Make sure you are using a thicker paper other than computer paper.

Step 2: Once printed, place your tree over a table covered with some newspaper or cheap shower curtain for a stress-free clean-up. At this time, you can put out your watercolor set, paper towel, and sponge or water cup.

Step 3: Place your thumb (or any other finger) into your wet sponge or small bowl of water. Next, press your finger into one of the colors of your watercolor pallet. Remember, you don't need a lot of water. The less water the better. Swish hard so a lot of color picks up onto your finger. 

Step 4: Like a stamp, use your colored fingertip to press outwards on the edge of a branch. We want the pattern to fan out like a peacock's tail. Don't be scared to overlap, and really fill out your tree. You can experiment. 

Step 5: You can designate each one of your fingertips for a specific color so you don't mess up your pallets. Use another palette for mixing colors if you want to get creative. Use the paper towel when necessary to clean your fingers, or for cleaning up when you're done.

Mixing Colors, Summer Camp Art Class, DG Rocker's, Bklyn, NY

Mixing Colors, Summer Camp Art Class, DG Rocker's, Bklyn, NY

Reiterate the lessons of love and selflessness from the story "The Giving Tree" with these sample questions:

 

"Why do you think the tree gave everything he had?"

"What did the boy learn as he grew older?"

"Do you know anyone in your life who shows you this love?"

Don't forget to look closely at the finger prints you have left behind inside your tree. The kids will love to learn how every person's fingerprint is different, just like every leaf on a tree - and each of them were created by with a specific design. We give this project two red thumbs ups!

Thumbs Up, DG Rockers, Bklyn, NY

Thumbs Up, DG Rockers, Bklyn, NY


If you did this project at home, we would love to see your work. Please visit us at dgrockers.com