What child is not delighted with writing down her or his words, ideas, phrases, or stories, or of a hand-drawn image of the surrounding world? What happens when the writing and the drawing partner with a stapled group of pages? Voila! A spring (perhaps botanical?) journal of thoughts and drawings to express one’s own experiences of spring.
To help children begin, perhaps give them daily themes (tall and thin plants), project questions (What flowers represent rainbow colors?), or ask them to describe their favorite plant (using at least three adjectives).
Sketches of flowering plants, maybe accompanied by a taped-in sample leaf now and then, and some description or statements become a kid’s own world expressed. Some children may want it to become their first book! Why not provide children with multicolored construction papers, have them create their front and back journal covers (with title and art), between which are stapled in sheets of notebook paper. With this journaling process, perhaps a pink flower will become a crayon drawing or a black-and-white sketch. Interpretive art!
Another idea might be to create a botanic mosaic, drawing a tree picture next to a flower petal next to a grass blade. Playing with composition, color, balance, and points of interest, a child will begin to see how forms and shapes can create a montage picture out of many pictures. If you want to try your hand with some of these ideas, click here.
Enthusiastic questions may burst forth from the young artists, reflecting the exuberance of spring itself. What is artistic? What famous artists did this first? Do I know an artist in my neighborhood? What kind of tools does an artist use?
This journaling activity might also contribute to a group project. After they have worked on their journaling individually for a few days or weeks, have a piece of posterboard on a table or taped to a wall. The board would represent a culmination of the journaling project: a class garden wherein each child would draw (or paint) in her or his favorite plant into that garden. My guess is that, at the completion of this project, the garden may be worth framing! Gradually, children will gain confidence in their writing skills, take pride in their emerging journal, and learn botanical lessons in the process. Not everyone will be a Botticelli and produce a “Primavera,” but the emerging children’s art will certainly be more contemporary art!
Growing the artist within!