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Preschool children love to explore nature. When they are given the opportunity to touch, interact with, and get close to nature, they become eager to participate. Nature projects involving forest decorations for preschool classrooms can be educational, but they are often used for fun and for simple wall coverings. Use the following ideas as a springboard for projects, or use them as they are written to decorate the classroom by bringing the outside trees and birds inside. Display the projects on a level where students can view and share their artwork with visitors or each other.
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Hand Print Trees
Materials: White or blue construction paper, brown marker, green finger paint, paintbrush, paper plate
Practice writing names with this activity. The children will have a hand print tree when this project is finished. Turn the paper on its side and draw two lines perpendicular to each other where the children will draw the first letter. This can be seen in the picture to the right. Children will write their names with the brown marker along the center of the paper. The name will be the tree trunk. Place the finger paint in the paper plate and use the paint brush to paint the children's hands. Allow the children to press their hands at the top of the name, making leaves for the tree.
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Materials: Paper plates, buckets, materials from nature
Take your preschool children on a nature walk, if possible, before completing this project. If a nature walk is impossible, line the room or hallway with nature materials such as leaves, acorns, small branches and pine needles. Walk with the students through the premade path created inside. Allow children to gather nature objects in small buckets. Bring the buckets inside and cut a hole from the center of the paper plate. The plate will look like a wreath when the hole is finished. Instruct students to glue their nature objects onto the paper plate wreath to create a nature wreath.
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Pine Tree Paints
Materials: Pine cones, pine tree branches, construction paper, paper plates, paint
Gather pine tree branches and pine cones to use in place of paint brushes for this activity. Preschool students love to experiment and use objects in new ways. Use the construction paper to cut out shapes such as trees or leaf shapes. Pour different colored paint into each paper plate and place a pine cone or tree branch in the paint. The tree branches should be reduced enough to be easy to manipulate. Allow the children to use the materials to decorate the paper. Talk with the children about how the materials feel and ask which material is easier to hold and use in the paint.
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Materials: bird image, feathers, glue, crayons
Give each child a bird image and crayons to color the image. When children are finished coloring, allow them to create a three dimensional picture by adding feathers to the image with glue. The students can count the feathers or use feather colors to coordinate with the colors of the rainbow to encourage learning. Students may be required to identify each feather color to enhance a preschool unit on colors. Use this activity to build on other classroom skills or as busy work while students are arriving in the morning and completing their morning readiness routines.
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These projects may be used as is or expanded and changed to be suited to each unique classroom. Children love to be outside and are perpetually curious about the things they cannot touch, such as birds and tree branches. Children in urban settings are especially interested in forests, as they are not consistently exposed to such an environment. Bring the outside in with forest decorations for preschool classrooms and share an experience with the youngsters which may not happen in their natural world.
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Photo Credit One: RF: Author's Photo, all rights reserved
Reference: Author's Personal Experience