Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Beautiful Banyan Trees!

Ohhhhhhh my goodness! This might be my favorite new project!

You've probably seen this or a similar Banyan Tree project in Dynamic Art Projects for Children, or maybe another blog. But I'm going to post it anyway because it is just that fabulous!

Banyan trees grow primarily in India, though you can find some in Florida as well. From its branches grow aerial roots, which stretch downward and plant themselves back into the ground. They're amazing to look at!



My fifth graders worked with oil pastels on their Wayne Thiebaud-inspired cakes project and really loved them. I think I significantly facilitated the sale of oil pastels at the local arts and crafts stores with that project. This project upped the oil pastel ante, as kiddos had to use their previous experience with the medium and further their technique in the form of blending colors.

To begin, I walked the students through the tree-drawing process. Despite giving each class essentially the same spiel, every tree was very different. I love that about art, don't you?

After drawing, kiddos painted their tree trunks and branches with black tempera paint. All that jazz took at least one full 45-minute class; some kiddos had to finish painting at the start of the next class.

As far as coloring goes, most of my fifth graders used up two classes' worth of time (90 minutes total) to color. Every section had to include two analogous or like colors blended together. Some students went the random route, while others chose a specific color scheme or order.

For the bottoms of the artwork, more colors could be used. Some students 'planted' their tree in water, which allowed for a reflection. I highly recommend using the reflective format, as the results are totally stunning! (The photos do NOT do these projects any justice. The vibrancy of the colors will knock your socks off in person!)

This sweet kiddo lacks a lot of fine motor skills... yet this project was her JAM!

This one is nicer than my example... it's humbling to be outdone by an 11-year-old!

I'll do this project again and again--the kids loved it, they learned a lot, and WOW, are these babies gorgeous!

Also, two nights ago I watched "Life of Pi," and there's a Banyan tree in one scene! I'm 28 years old and that alone made me so excited that I accidentally woke up the dog... and my husband. Whoops.


  1. Every time I see this project posted somewhere, I say WOW! And this time is no exception. The work is just beautiful; you should be very proud of your students. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Phyl! I hear ya--I'm so impressed each time I see these. I told the kids that they're making me look good! I am having major trouble deciding on just a few of these to put in the upcoming art show!

  2. I love this project! Thanks for sharing

  3. I am NOT an art teacher. I am a mom with a child that does online schooling. We are going to practice some of our art skills and I absolutely love this project