Self Portraits: Capture Them Before They're Gone

December 2, 2011

Our preschoolers are fascinated with themselves and, as parents, we delight in their fascination. From making up songs and stories about themselves to making faces in the mirror, preschoolers find themselves infinitely entertaining. Today, we want to help your little one make a special self-portrait, all from nature and the outdoors. Before the true wickedness of winter sets in, take a jaunt outside with your little artist to create a masterpiece and leave the mess! This ephemeral art piece will be memorable, but not a keepsake, so make sure you have a camera handy to capture every moment that goes into this special creation. 

For an ephemeral self-portrait, you will need sturdy walking shoes (or slippers if you are only venturing into the front yard in PJ's), an outdoor space to collect and create, a camera and a good imagination. Ephemeral self-portraits can be created as close to home as the driveway, with rocks, weeds and twigs, or as far away as the beach or mountains with sand, pine cones, seashells and driftwood. Nature offers a plethora of materials for creating.  

Help your child appreciate each medium he chooses. Make sure to talk to your child about nature and why he thinks certain items best represent his eyes, his hair or his hands. Create an ephemeral portrait of yourself and discuss why you chose your pieces of nature, too. If your little one is enthralled with this out-of-doors project, help him to make an ephemeral family portrait (take a photo to make an awesome holiday card or framed gift for a family member!).

You can leave this natural creation for others to enjoy or you can discuss with your preschooler how and why to replace altered pieces of nature. Either avenue offers a fabulous, open-ended discussion about nature and our place in it.  If your child chooses to leave the artwork, ponder who might see it and what they might think. If your artist thinks it would be best to replace the pieces of nature back where he found them, discuss how things might be disrupted if his self-portrait was left in tact. Will the squirrel still be able to find its tree if we leave that big rock over to the side?  Why?   

Take some time this winter to explore nature with your little one. Help him create, think and explore nature and art with this special Savvy project.  You will both gain much more than a gorgeous self-portrait.

From the Parents

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