Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rainstorm Brainstorm

Once upon a time my job was working with kids. One thing that seemingly makes all children restless is a string of rainy days - the kind that are too raw and soaking for puddle jumping or worm watching. Sometimes filling these stormy hours can be a challenge, so on this rainy day I thought I would share one of my old favorite projects.

It starts with Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. This book is an ideal introduction to gardening- simple, informative, and bursting with color. As the reviewer from School Library Journal writes:

"A young child relates in ten simple sentences the yearly cycle and process of planning, planting, and picking flowers in a garden. Mother and child plant bulbs in fall, order seeds from catalogs in winter, eagerly anticipate the first shoots of spring, select seedlings in summer, ``and watch the rainbow grow,'' reveling in the opulence of color. The power of this book lies in the glowing brilliance and bold abstraction of the double-page collages. Ehlert combines simple, stylized shapes of flat, high intensity color into abstract yet readily identifiable images of plants and flowers while clearly and colorfully labeling each plant on an adjacent garden marker. " - Pamela Miller Ness

No doubt this book would also be the perfect thing to read before planting the first seeds or bulbs in the garden with your kids, but it also happens to be the inspiration for a pretty great art project. A flower border for a playroom or bedroom filled with blossoms likening Ehlert's stylized blooms, but created by the aforementioned restless child/children. All you need to create your own garden is a stack of colorful construction paper, scissors, glue, and either a wide roll or large sheets of white paper- from there it is simply a matter of cutting, pasting, and creating....

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