En Plein Air Painting with Children: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

June 20, 2011

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake

Why we love this book:

We love this book because it is a version of the much beloved children’s song “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Joyce has been singing this fun repetitive song, about the prettiest tree that you ever did see, to children forever. FOREVER is really not an exaggeration! When we found this book, we feel in love all over again with “the bird in the tree, and the tree on the root, and the green grass grew all around and around . . . ”

We also found the simple pen & ink and watercolor illustrations enchanting. Since we’ve been putting Mona Brook’s theory to the test, “that everyone can learn to draw,” we thought these illustrations would be a good starting place for a lesson on “En Plein Air” painting of trees with the children.

En Plein Air is a French expression used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Grab your children and your watercolors for a little singing and painting outdoors!

En Plein Air Painting with Children

“The Green Grass Grew All Around”


  • poster board
  • black fine tip sharpie markers
  • watercolor paints
  • paint brushes in a variety of sizes (you don’t want to use those wimpy little paint brushes for great-big poster painting)

Step 1: Sing “The Green Grass Grew All Around”

  • The children learned the parts of a tree as they sang this “repeat after me” song.
  • This version from Disney is our favorite version of “The Green Grass Grew All Around”
  • Print this song FREE: The words to “The Green Grass Grew all Around”

Step 2: Read Aloud Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake

  • we studied the simple pen & ink and watercolor illustrations
  • first, noting the black pen outlines
  • second, focusing on how the paint is casually added to the simple drawings
  • last, observing all of the different shades of green used within the illustrations

Plein Air Painting, children’s ages 7, 9 and 4

Step 3: Pack-up the children and art supplies and head outside for Plein Air Painting

  • each child selected a tree to draw and paint
  • we observed the lines and shapes of the tree and leaves
  • we observed the many shades of green and brown in the landscape

Step 4: Draw the outline of the tree with a black sharpie marker

  • we used the words to the song “The Green Grass Grew All Around” for a following directions drawing activity
  1. “There was a hole in the middle of the ground” – Draw a large hole for your tree.
  2. “And in that hole there was a root” – Draw the roots of your tree in your hole.
  3. “And on that root there was a tree” – Draw the trunk of your tree.
  4. “And on that tree there was a branch” – Draw the branches of your tree.
  5. “And on that branch there was a twig” – Draw twigs on your branches.
  6. “And on that twig there was a nest” – Draw a nest on a twig.
  7. “And in that nest there was a bird” – Draw a bird in your nest.
  8. “And the green grass grew all around and around” – Draw grass around your tree.
  • The older children wanted to add details to their trees like a swing and a person.

Plein Air Painting, children’s ages 9 & 4

Step 5: Paint

  • Once again, we have children of different ages, nine and four, working side-by-side on the same project. What joy!

Plein Air painting, Miss Enigma, age 4

As they worked side-by-side, Grandson # 3, age nine, commented, “When Miss Enigma started drawing it just looked like a bunch of scribbles. But wow, look at how good her painting looks! It looks just like  a tree.”

  • Each of the children observed their selected tree and mixed colors to get just the right shades of green and brown.

Sadly after coming from a negative classroom experience, Grandson # 3 has an “I can’t” attitude. This day he painted long after MacGyver and Miss Enigma were finished and off playing in the backyard. He told me, “Wow, this is good. I never knew I could draw!” This sweet comment of a little self-confidence brings tears to my eyes!

Plein Air Painting, Miss Enima, Age 4

“The Green Grass Grew All Around”

Plein Air Painting, MacGyver, age 7

“The Green Grass Grew All Around”

Plein Air Painting, Grandson # 3, age 9

“The Green Grass Grew All Around”

Grandson # 3 took his poster home proclaiming to everyone, “It’s a miracle! I couldn’t draw and then I just tried today and I could draw!” Then he showed off his poster to Aunt Alyssa and asked her, “Do you know what this is a drawing of?” Aunt Alyssa studied the poster and answered with confidence, “Yep, it’s that song, The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Grandson # 3 beamed!

Life with Jeannine

We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy of  Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake.

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

What is the prettiest thing that you ever did see? Staying with the Plein Air topic, let’s think of something out in nature. (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Thursday, June 23, 2011

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Friday, June 24, 2011. Check back it might be you!

Giveaway Day

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Merelyn - Real Kid Friendly June 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Bright green moss growing on a log. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. Nature is full of so many beautiful things!

Julie@The Adventures of Bear June 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm

The ocean. I love the waves, seeing them glisten and crash against the shore. I love the way that it stretches out to meet the sky. I sing this song to my daughter all the time so she would LOVE this book!

Jessica June 21, 2011 at 9:46 am

My two girls running along the shore barefoot gathering seashells!

kris June 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

The smile on my daughter’s face when it reaches to her eyes. She’s outside right now holding a lemonade stand and each time someone comes by and buys something, she turns to see if I saw it all and the smile lights up her face. She’s so proud to be an entrepreneur!

Von June 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I really enjoy all nature in general but particularly like flowers. It would be hard to say which are my favorites.

maryanne June 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm

My babies! =)

Other than that, the beach in Nicaragua – surrounded by rain forests, and with little baby turtles making their way to the water =)

Tara June 22, 2011 at 8:00 am

Ooh there are so many beautiful things that God created…from the 4 deer that my boys have seen in 2 days all the way to the tiny frogs that love my square foot garden!
Kris, I had to smile about your daughter’s lemonade because just yesterday my boys decided to try to sell fish. Yep, they went to the creek, caught some tiny fish, and tried to sell them. We don’t even live in a neighborhood, but I didn’t discourage them from trying. Not to mention that all the fish didn’t “make” the wagon ride from the creek to the yard! :)

Carla June 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

The sun shining on the mountain snow is a close second to the look of joy on my childs face when he rode a bike without training wheels for the first time.

Tiffany June 23, 2011 at 7:31 am

As far as nature the rain yesterday is the prettiest thing I have seen, heard or felt in a long time.

Wehaf June 25, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Niagara Falls from the bottom. It’s incredible.

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