I recommend all parents and teachers read Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. Mr Louv makes the case that while we Americans have become more and more “environmental” our children have begun to experience nature less and less. As we celebrate Earth Day, Earth Month and Arbor Day it is important to give our children the freedom to authentically experience nature.
Today I am posting En Plein Air Art by children; however, I think the best way to connect children to the earth is to let them explore the peacefulness, the adventure and the wonder of nature.
It is not uncommon for us to spend much of our homeschool day outside. We read outside, we journal outside, we measure outside, we play outside, we garden outside and we do a great deal of art outside.
Since the children have been led through so many outdoor art explorations, during their free time they often head out the backdoor with their journals, paper and art supplies.
For Christmas, Santa brought MacGyver a gorgeous set of pastels, a new sketch pad and sketch pencils.
En Plein Air Pastel Drawing, MacGyver, age 8
Without any prompting, MacGyver headed out the backdoor a few days later to create a work of En Plein Air Art. The top portion of his drawing was inspired by the impressionist paintings of Claude Monet. This is MacGyver’s version of a pastel sunset. He specifically referenced the style of Monet in his description of his sunset.
The lower left hand-side was a drawing of a potted plant on our patio.
The left hand-side is a drawing of a fabulous green anole lizard hiding among the branches of the plant. At this point, MacGyver had to leave his artwork behind to play with the lizard!
En Plein Air Pencil Portrait, Miss Enigma, age 4
But wait little sister, Miss Enigma is not to be out done. This is an En Plein Air pencil drawing of our dog Shadow.
Our scruffy, stray dog Shadow is dearly loved by both of the children. Accordingly, he is the subject of many journal entries and pieces of artwork. Look at his scruffy little face. I think Miss Enigma captured his portrait quite nicely. She even included his tongue hanging out. Yes, his tongue is usually hanging out!
En Plein Air Watercolor, Miss Enigma, age 5
Another day, Miss Enigma grabbed her water colors and put Shadow on the leash. After all, it’s hard to paint a picture of a moving target. She sat at our patio table, observing Shadow and created this lovely watercolor of Shadow enjoying a fireworks show. Miss Enigma is big into story telling. The fireworks were a bit of an embellishment! I think they were a wonderful addition.
I could go on and on with these impromptu pieces of artwork, as you know my son IS MacGyver. I have at least a 1000 pictures of the art, creature habitats and forts they’ve built. Just last week they created a butterfly house. All day long they caught butterflies and housed them in their giant butterfly house. At the end of the day they released them back into our butterfly garden.
Here are a few ideas to get your children started with En Plein Air Art:
En Plein Air Painting: Step-by-step directions for how to draw a tree. (preschool – grade 3)
Print the FREE Song: The Green Grass Grew All Around and Around
Book: Tweedle Dee Dee by Charlotte Voake
En Plein Air Collage Art: Step by step directions for creating a backyard collage. (preschool – grade 2)
Book: Peek! A Thai Hide-and-Seek by Minfong Ho
We’re Giving Away: Just One Quiet Pine Tree “A Nature Map Book” by Chris Butterworth
Life with Jeannine
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