Spring is in full force, and we’ve been reviving our senses by watching the snow melt, playing outside in the warm breeze, smelling the new wet earth, and listening to the birds sing. In the meantime, my Meyer lemon tree, that I’ve been keeping indoors all winter, bore me 6 lemons. This poor tree lost all of its leaves in the fall and was completely naked except for these huge lemons hanging off it’s limbs. Once I cut off the beautiful lemons, I was inspired by their color, texture and smell. I decided to share these lovely fruits with my Pint Size Artists. What if we took a closer look at these lemons? How could we examine them and create some beautiful works of art?
My four and five-year-olds love exploring and connecting with their materials. When they are introduced to everyday items or food products their eyes light up with wonder. For this lesson, the kids brainstormed various ways we use lemons in everyday life. They discovered that we can make lemonade, we can squeeze lemon juice on other foods, we can use lemons to clean, and we can also smell lemons to make our sick tummies feel better. We then went on to discuss the shape, texture, and feel of a lemon. A lemon has a bumpy round oval shape with a tiny nub at the top. Some lemons also have a stem attached. When we cut a lemon in half, there is a tiny circle in the center, with divided triangle shapes, kind of like how we cut a pizza. The edge of a lemon has two circles, the outer lemon rind, and the inner white rind. Finally, the kids passed whole and cut lemons to each other, smelling them, touching them, and even listening to them. Yes, lemons make a squishy sound when you squeeze them.
- large white construction paper
- lemons cut in half
- yellow acrylic paint
- white copy paper
- yellow markers
This lesson is split into two parts. First, the kids experimented with printmaking by dipping their lemons into yellow paint and stamping them onto the white paper. In order to get a pretty textured effect, I encouraged the kids to scrape off as much paint as possible. Too much paint on the lemon turned into a gooey circular mess. After the kids stamped their whole paper, I had them practice drawing their lemons in a mini-accordion sketchbook. The results were these amazing little bright and cheery lemon studies.
These mini-accordion books were an easy way to get the kids to think about observational drawing in a fun and interesting way. Give this a try with your little ones and let me know how it worked out!