All trees have different types of bark and it can be great fun to explore the trees in your local area and experiment with art to get to know them a little better.
When finding a suitable tree, consider the textures of the barks you are going to be working with and the tactile element of that for little fingers to explore. Rubbings of lower profile surfaces tend to come off best with a thinner newsprint paper for careful detail (for older children), but explore with what you have to hand, the fun is with the artistic experimentation of surfaces in this resource. Also as a tip, crayons tend to work best when you rub along the length of them.
We really enjoyed doing the bark rubbings but had as much fun exploring the forest in search of different shapes and textures on the bark of all the trees before lying back for a spot of cloud watching.
Whilst using this art resource to inspire learning, know you are helping you and your family's wellbeing like this:
1) Get active- head out for a walk, explore a new woodland.
2) Keep Learning - use this session to work with experimentation and be prepared for some of them not to work. Art can be an exiting experiment when approached with an open mind; try your crayons in different positions; try different thicknesses of paper; try different colour combinations of paper and crayon. Make a map of the local trees in your area on a large sheet of paper afterwards with the differing bark rubbings, or you can cut them into shapes to create another artistic outcome and simply use them as textures.
3) Be Mindful- really stop with each tree for a moment or two before beginning to bark rub, look at the leaves, look at the bark, watch for insects or birdlife in them. Look around to see where their other tree friends are and if they are the same species or not. It's ok if you don't know what type of tree it is. Perhaps you can look them up afterwards as appropriate. Remember these trees are home to much life and not just there for your bark rubbing activity so approach the tree with respect. When working experimentally with materials not every piece will necessarily work as you 'expect' it to, notice how that makes you and your family feel - how do you/they respond to this? Embrace that however you all feel, that it is still ok and ok to respond differently.
4) Practice Kindness- remember everyones outcomes will differ greatly - respond with kindness and respect. Responding enthusiastically will always boost your child's confidence and make you feel good too once you see how much confidence they will then have.
5) Think Community - Why not make one of these for a friend or family member as a gift. Post your beautiful outcomes and share any tips in the comments below.
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