painting a still life. . .GARDENING portrait

I was really trying to find a good art activity to accompany our week of gardening.  I knew I wanted Little M to create a piece of art that would represent the peat pot still completely brown. . .waiting to sprout.  I have been trying to plan activities that require Little M to follow some type of guideline while still giving her creative leeway.   I think this one was a winner.  (She did spend quite a bit of time mixing paint, smooshing it between her fingers, and smothering her second piece of paper. . .we’re all about balance here!)

what you need:   an object (newly planted peat pot if you have one) ~ large construction paper ~ brown, white and black tempera paint ~ paintbrush

I set the peat pot in front of Little M and we talked about which materials she thought would be best for this activity.  We talked about how many different shades of brown we saw.  Then we grabbed the paint and got busy mixing.


I folded the large paper into fourths and set it up so that she only had access to painting on one section.  (I’ll tell you why at the end of the post. . .guess you’ll have to keep reading!)  I asked Little M to draw what she saw.  When she was satisfied she grabbed a paint brush and started filling her portrait with color.  I noticed that she would look up occasionally, really concentrating on what she was doing.


She finished up and I unfolded the paper.  We talked about how many days it has been since we planted our seeds.  I asked her questions about what she thinks will happen over the next week.  I told her of my plan for the rest of the paper.  Next week we will bring the same peat pot over and paint a portrait again in the second section.  “Do you think the picture will be the same?” “Do you think the colors will be the same?”



Tips (to maximize learning):  1.  Do the mixing with your little one.  How do you make brown?  What will happen when we add black to this color, what about white?  2. I wasn’t worried about what Little M’s final product looked like, only that she learned the idea of creating something inspired by an object.

Questions (to ask your little one): “Tell me about this section of your painting.”  “What made you decide to choose this color for this area?”

If you have missed any of our Gardening Lesson Plan. . .click here for planting seeds, click here for our seed song, and here for how to make a research journal.   Come back tomorrow for Gardening Book Review, trust me you don’t want to miss it!!!



  1. hi jill,
    i’m so glad you took the 31 day challenge with me! and even happier that you will be continuing on with me on thursdays… i see so much here that you picked up through the program…
    i am a little gardener and i love planting seeds, last year i did a post on our planting with my daughter, we had zillions of mini tomatoes, so many everyone just came by and picked them for snacks lol…

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