I have already shared with you our tree farm sensory play which was a huge hit so today, I want to share with you the trees our prek students were invited to make as a part of our study on tree farms.
We have been spending a lot of time working with air-dry clay this year. The interesting thing about clay is that it isn’t soft and pliable at first like play dough is. Clay is much more challenging for fine motor skills to work with which I am noticing is a very good thing in our Pre-k class.
To get the clay pliable, the children have to really work those fine motor muscles. In some cases, they need to put their whole bodies into the process. After a few minutes of warming up and kneading the clay, it does become a wonderful material to create and construct with. But first, you have to get the children to work their way through the challenges of using clay and for some children, that may require just a little bit of coaching and encouragement.
My student’s have been using the clay to make beads and ornaments of their choosing but for this process, we focused on using the clay to make a base (or the roots) of our trees.
After making their base, the children added their tree branches.
When the children were happy with their tree they could wrap up the roots just like they did in our book, “The Great Spruce” by John Duvall.
To wrap up their tree roots, they needed a piece of burlap and some string and some help. Some of the children helped each other wrap, hold, and tie while others tried to do it on their own.
Where needed, Miss Lauren or I either helped with tying up the roots or held the string while the children worked to tie the roots up on their own.
This process was definitely a combination of craftiness and fine motor skill challenges. I’m thinking that it might fall at a three on the process scale but the children stayed engaged in making their own trees and they will be a wonderful way to bring discussions about our tree farm home to mom and dad.
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