Inspire your child to enjoy the colorful fall foliage by creating a seasonal sketchbook! Watch as she fills the pages with the warm reds, bright yellows and brilliant browns found in the fall scenery. See trees and plants emerge as your child creates imaginative sketches to celebrate the fall season.
This activity will encourage your child to utilize her observation skills, develop aesthetic awareness, build artistic drawing abilities, and learn about the seasonal environment. Additionally, a cover created by collaging natural fall materials will help your child become a budding naturalist—collecting her own scientific specimens. Choose recycled materials for the book-making portion to add in a fantastic environmental awareness lesson.
What You Do:
- Find a suitable piece of cardboard that is large enough to fold into a book shape with a front and back cover. If one piece is too short, you may use two pieces together as the front and back. Your child can help you find the cardboard and fold the cover.
- Have your child place several sheets of drawing paper inside the cardboard cover. Align the paper with the left side.
- Staple the book together on the left side. This step should be done by an adult.
- Take your child outside and go on a nature specimen field trip. Encourage her to choose fall themed items such as fallen leaves, twigs or acorns. Try to steer clear of picking live plants or leaves that are still attached to a tree.
- Once you and your child have collected your fall specimens, ask your child to glue the items onto the cover of the sketchbook. This is her chance to make a beautiful collage of all of the natural materials she has collected and design the cover to her sketchbook however she likes.
- Set aside to dry.
- Once dry, give your child her sketchbook and some colored pencils and let her go to town! Encourage her to go outdoors and observe what she sees and watch as she sketches the colorful fall scenery!
Extend sketching activities throughout the entire year. Make a book for each season that can be filled with fantastic imagery as the weather changes. Once all four have been created, ask your child to compare and contrast what she has drawn.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.