Have you ever used a tree as an easel?

I know the title of this post sounds odd but if you haven’t ever used a tree as an easel, then let me show you why you might want to consider giving it a try.

Yesterday, I wrote about how the children explored their very own trees. As a part of their exploration, I invited the children to paint on their trees.

Although the children could have actually painted on their trees, I decided for this exercise to have the children use the tree as their easel instead and then look at and around their tree for some artistic inspiration.

Each child chose a tree of their very own then taped a sheet of paper to their tree. We had to go back around and add a staple to the piece of paper to keep it on the tree as the tape just wouldn’t stick well enough.

On the classroom table, the children found paint pallets (cut from cardboard), paint brushes, and paint colors.

The children added colors of paint to their paint pallets and went off to paint on the tree easels.

While the children painted, they suddenly became very quiet.

You could feel the warm breeze, hear the birds and see each child quietly and peacefully working on their paintings. It was really something else.

One thing that really stood out was that the children who do not typically choose to paint our regular easels absolutely loved painting on their tree easels.

It was amazing the difference in how much time and thought each child spent on their paintings.

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By |2018-11-02T11:02:49+00:00April 19th, 2017|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Julie April 21, 2017 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Love this and will definitely do next fall. We do CC, and do the tree study. Question, did you have water available to rinse b/w colors?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 21, 2017 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      The children were told they could take their brush to the sink to rinse out but a bucket of water sitting outside would do the trick. However, I only had one student decide to rinse the paintbrush. I also showed the children how to “dry” or rb off most of the excess paint from their brush by rubbing it on a dry spot on their art pallet. Most of the children chose this approach instead of washing out the brush and it worked brilliantly.

  2. Dawn Tomsik April 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I have done these in the past as well. The first time we did these it was a blast! Learning from experience, when we did these the second time we made small holes for their thumbs to fit through which allowed them to hold on to their board better.

  3. Lynette H. April 23, 2017 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    This is an awesome idea. My Pre-K class is performing a Tree Study and you have given me some fantastic ideas to incorporate the outdoors with their learning about trees.

  4. Joy April 24, 2017 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    You could also read _A Tree is Nice_. An old classic!

  5. Denitsa Getsova May 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    What a great idea! I will definitely try to incorporate this summer!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. May 4, 2017 at 6:32 pm - Reply


  6. Chris August 15, 2017 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Why is it that every comment I leave on your site begins with, “Ooh, I love this idea!”? 🙂 This sounds like so much fun! I have a bunch of plastic palettes with dry water colors in them. Perfect for a fall tree lesson!!

    • Deborah Stewart August 18, 2017 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      Haha! I love your “oohs!”

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