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Learning Colors, Flowers and Leaf Shapes
This creative suncatcher or bookmark art project for elementary school can be incorporated into art class, as well as elementary science classes as a nature project. Students can choose to make either a bookmark or a suncatcher.
To begin, teach students to identify the various flowers and leaves used. Have students sort dried materials by leaf type, color or flower. Ask younger students to identify colors, as well as shapes or patterns. Place large colored construction paper on the tables and ask students to sort the colors placing the appropriate colored leaf or flower on the matching sheet of construction paper.
Ask the students to create patterns with their leaves and flowers. For instance - one leaf, two flowers, one leaf.
Have books on flowers and trees available for aiding in the identification process.
Some books you might choose include:
- Burns, D., et al., Trees, Leaves and Bark, Cooper Square Publishing, 1995
- Lyon, G.E. and Parker, T., A B Cedar: An Alphabet of Trees, Orchard Books, 1996
- Burnie, D., Eyewitness Explorers: Flowers, DK Children, 1992
- Burns, D., Wildflower Blooms and Blossoms, Cooper Square Publishing, 1998
- Aronson, S., Fandex Family Field Guide: Trees, Workman Publishing, 1998
- Theilgaard Watts, M., Tree Finder: A Manual for Identification of Trees by Their Leaves (Eastern US), Nature Study Guide Publishers, 1991
- Hood, S. and NAS, Wildflowers: National Audubon Society (NAS) First Field Guide, Scholastic, 1998
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The materials needed are:
- A variety of dried leaves and flowers.
- Paper towels.
- Wax paper.
- Clear laminate sheets cut in 3 x 5 inch pieces (If the school does not have a laminator, clear contact paper may be used instead.)
- Hole punch.
- Ribbon in assorted colors.
- Wax crayon shavings.
- Bits of tissue paper.
- Scraps from hole punch.
It is best to collect flowers and leaves from the surrounding area so students can learn the names. Dry fresh flowers by placing them between layers of paper towel which is then placed between two pieces of wax paper. Stack a heavy book on the paper towel for a few days. It is important to make sure that the plant materials are thoroughly dried; otherwise, they will mold. Teachers may also obtain dry flower materials from a local craft store.
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Simple, Yet Beautiful Creations
The best part of any art project is the actual creation. Students will enjoy picking out flowers and leaves, ribbon and details they wish to use in their art project.
Instruct the students to place their flowers and leaves in the center of the laminate, so that there is a margin of laminate around them.
An adult will need to laminate the pieces, since laminating machines are extremely hot. If clear contact paper is used instead, an adult will need to assist some students in sticking the two pieces together.
Shavings of wax crayons may also be added. These will melt inside of the laminate, creating a stained glass look. With contact paper, small bits of colored paper, such as scraps from the hole punch, can be added instead, as well as glitter (sparingly) or small bits of ribbon, thread or yarn.
Once laminated, punch a hole at the top of the laminated flowers/leaves for a ribbon or piece of yarn. Knot the top.
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Extend with a Service Project
In addition to creating something that aids in teaching the students about nature, a service project can be incorporated into the lesson. These projects make wonderful gifts for shut-ins, the elderly or even military members.
Teachers will need to contact the nursing home prior to sending the gifts, so that the staff will know ahead of time that they are being given. If possible, it could be arranged for the students to make a small presentation where they relate to the elders what they learned and then give the elders their gifts.
Because of the size, these also make an easy-to-send gift to military members, who are away from the community. If you do not have a ready contact with a military member,
From start to finish, everyone loves these creative suncatcher or bookmark art projects for elementary school students. Elementary school teachers will find that these projects build creative skills, add to science knowledge, develop skills of recognition and allow students to give something of themselves to others.