Today is the official first day of autumn! So… let’s do a fun art project. A torn paper tree. But first. Read the book Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins. This book has beautiful photographs of various trees and their leaves in the autumn.
Why torn paper? Fine motor skills!! Children need to strengthen the muscles in their hands and especially their thumb, index and middle fingers to hold a pencil. But, they are also working on their wrist and forearm at the same time. All these muscles work together while writing, cutting and coloring. Check out these preschool fine motor milestones and red flags.
- large sheet for background
- brown for the tree
- red, yellow, orange, green — I usually give a 1/4 sheet of each of these colors
- glue/glue stick
Note I did not say scissors! If you have scissors around they will use the scissors, soooo do not have them out at all! Show your child how to slowly tear the paper holding it with a pincer grip with both hands. Once they see that if you do it slowly and holding the paper closer to where you want to tear they will start to see the control they have over the tears. This is a great side by side project as they will watch how you tear and manipulate the paper!
Now encourage your child to make a fall tree. Remember there is no right way to do this project… there is just your child’s way, and that is ok! If they get stuck, go for a walk and find trees that are starting to change colors or google fall tree images.