How much will your child grow over summer break? Find out by making your own unique, tree-shaped Growth Chart. Kids have fun tracing and cutting out their own tree and learn about different units of measurement in the process. This project requires only common household objects, and the finished product will be useful in tracking your kid's growth for years to come.
What You Do:
- Break apart the cardboard box so that it lies flat.
- Help your child use markers to trace a tree trunk shape on the cardboard, then cut the tree trunk out.
- Have him to draw a tree top on another piece of cardboard. Discuss what shape it may look like, or go outside and observe different kinds of trees.
- When he's done tracing his tree top, cut the shape out.
- Have him draw and cut out leaves from the green construction and tissue papers. Try a variety of shapes and sizes. Show him how to create layers and textures by scrunching and bunching the papers, then glue them on the tree.
- Next, invite him to use a ruler or yard stick to mark the increments of measurement on the side of the tree trunk. Suggest that he marks inches on one side of the tree trunk and centimeters on the other. This way, he can take two measurements each week. Keeping track of his growth in both inches and centimeters will help him understand how the units relate to each other.
- Now it's time to put the tree together. Glue the tree top to the trunk, and your growth chart is all done.
- Pick a good spot to hang it up. Before taping, test the wall surface to ensure that the paint or wallpaper underneath won't be damaged.
To turn the growth chart into a fun science game, ask your child to make a prediction about how much he'll grow over summer vacation. Chart his growth each week, and at the end of the summer, take a look and see if his prediction was correct!
Erica Loop has an 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.