Craft time with Mrs. Caines: Cherry Blossom Trees!

I found this adorable idea online: Cherry Blossom Art from a Recycled Soda Bottle. I’ve already signed up for two crafts this year, but I thought this craft was too cute to pass up – especially since this year marks the centennial of Japan’s gift to the United States. And since yesterday was the start of the Cherry Blossom Festival, well, why not?

Cute Husband let me skip Sunday’s trip to the Magic Kingdom (he and The Boy needed haircuts) to test out different media for this craft. Whatever I decided on using had to (a) be easy to use, (b) dry quickly, and (c) be washable. (These are 3- to 6- year-olds, after all.)

After testing out stamp pads, markers, and colored pencils, I finally decided on mixing some magenta and white Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint for the flowers and mixed some brown and black Crayola Washable Tempera Paint for the tree. I brought some large drawing paper that I bought about two years ago and arrived at The Boy’s school a few minutes early with my fingers crossed that the kids’ finished trees would at least resemble the one at AlphaMom.

The finished product that made me want to try this with The Boy's class.

Before we started work on the craft, Ms. M let me tell the class a little bit about the cherry blossom trees (which required a bit of research on my part). I explained that the Japanese government gave the United States government about 3,000 trees as a gift 100 years ago, and that a few years later, after the cherry blossom trees in Japan weren’t taken good care of (I skipped the whole World War II part), the United States was able to return a gift of cherry blossom trees to them. And I explained that the cherry blossoms only stay on the trees for a few weeks at the start of spring before the winds blow them away and green leaves cover the trees.

Then, it was time to get to work. Ms. M set up two stations in the classroom. She would work with the kids on painting the tree then send them to me for the blossoms.

Painting the trees

The end result turned out very well, and the kids all seemed to have fun with it. A few asked me why I put bottles in bowls of paint and were then amazed that the bottles made flowers on the page. Once everyone had a turn, we placed them in the hallway to dry.

Cherry blossom art drying in the hall.

Ultimately, The Boy got to have two turns at stamping flowers on trees: once for the tree that I had painted and again to complete a tree he had painted himself. And the fears I had that they wouldn’t turn out as well as AlphaMom’s?

On the weathered look of the manila drawing paper, I think I like our version even better.

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