Our nature shadow boxes in preschool

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on November 12, 2011

in Nature Shadow Boxes

We have been collecting shoe box lids for a variety of activities and this one came straight from the wonderful artistic ideas shared by Casa Maria’s Creative Learning Zone….

To make these beautiful shadow boxes, the children started by pouring glue into shoebox lids.  I wasn’t sure how much glue would be needed so I had them at least fill the lid with enough glue that the nature items could lay firmly in the glue…

Next, the children went outside to collect nature items to put in their glue.  I had the children go back and forth to collect something and instructed them to look for something different each time so they would have a variety of items to put in the glue…

The children found leaves, sticks, pine needles, acorns, flowers, rocks, and a few other nature items to add to their boxes…

I encouraged the children to be very selective as they searched for items to add to their shadow boxes.  For past activities, the children would grab a handful of the most pathetic leaves and give no thought as to the beauty or different qualities of each item they bring in. So this time, I wanted to slow them down and have them be more thoughtful in what they selected to add to their boxes….

Some of the children were very selective as to where they set their nature items in the box. Other children just dropped them anywhere in the box…

Once the children added a nice supply of nature items to their box lids, then we began to add some color.  I debated about leaving the glue just white because I felt like they were beautiful as they were but the children loved this next step so I am glad we continued on….

For our next step, I set out cups of slightly watered down tempera paint and some paint brushes.  The children used the brushes to gently sprinkle different colors of paint on the glue (or white spaces between their nature items)…

The children concentrated on adding color. The room was so quiet as the children focused on the process for about 10 whole minutes which is unusual in my classroom

Once each child was satisfied with the paint dripping part of this process, then I set the shadow boxes up to dry for a few days….

The shadow boxes have been drying for over a week so far..  Ours are still not quite dry but as they dry, the glue starts to turn clear.  I hung these up for a quick photo and had to take them back down because the glue was dripping. The shadow box all the way to the left is almost completely dry – as you can see the glue has started to turn clear in color. I am interested to see the final results but I think the painted color parts will be lost but the nature items should really stand out…

This article is being shared with you by Deborah Stewart of Teach Preschool - Sharing the wonders of early learning in action!

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