Life in VA and A Backyard Exploration Art Project

So our second week here, not as much fun as the first.

It started with Jer’s lower back in knots after all the moving in, then E coming down with what we think is Hand Foot and Mouth (it’s apparently all over in these parts. Fun fun). She had a mild fever but was incredibly fatigued, which she’s never been before with only a 101 fever. This combined with her complaining about her mouth hurting with no runny nose or other cold symptoms made us think that Hand Foot and Mouth might be the culprit. She’s been loving playing with the neighborhood kids and kids from Jer’s boat, and apparently swapping germs as well! As for me, I’ve come down with the cold Jer had when E and I arrived.

E and I have spent the past few days together sick, resulting in lots of Sprout TV and learning that a roll of paper towels (Viva to be exact) is particularly comforting to a sick E. Hey, it’s a cheap and easy fix for a grumpy toddler!

E and I, sick buddies!

E and I, sick buddies!


This combined with the neighbor’s large yellow lab repeatedly busting through the fence has made for an eventful and tiring week. Luckily the weather has been gorgeous allowing for lots of outdoor play, which E loves, especially as there is so much to explore in a new yard. Even a sick E loves some good backyard fun.

E’s love of the outdoors, especially trees, inspired E and I to repeat a fun activity this week that we had done while staying with Jer’s parents: exploring Springtime leaves all around us and making our own “tree”. We had walked around their neighborhood, talking about what we were seeing and collecting different leaves, and when we got back we made our own tree of sorts by painting a tree trunk and then stenciling over the leaves we had found with crayons.

Es Finished Tree



I was inspired to do this project with E to both encourage her love of exploring the outside world, and to show her new ways to use one of her favorite art tools, the crayon. There’s something almost magical about gently rubbing a crayon on paper over a stencil or, in this case, leaf, and seeing it appear right before your eyes!

Leaves Project Collage.jpg

1. Using brown paint have little ones paint a tree. After it dries, cut out their tree.

2. Let them once again explore the leaves they’ve gathered, and then tape them to a piece of white paper.

3. Have them lightly rub a crayon over the paper with the leaves to make them appear. Help them differentiate between light and hard pressing, and which one (light) makes the shape of the leaves appear.

4. Cut out the leaf stencils they’ve made and help them glue them onto their tree trunk.

And voila, their very own tree inspired and made in part by the trees and plants all around them!

This was a fun art activity to do in the midst of all the sickness, especially since it didn’t require us to leave the house and spread our germs!

Here’s to a better week ahead and happy leaf hunting in your parts of the world.

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