Forest Fiesta

A few weeks ago Mommy Labs initiated a worldwide art event called Forest Fiesta to celebrate World Environment Day. The idea behind it is for parents to focus on getting kids to appreciate and understand the value of our Forests and then create something artistically to share and remember what they had learned.  
A forest called Trillium Trails near my home
As I have been thinking about this and been busy with my life, (I am building two huge landscaping projects in my yard right now) I started to feel that helping children understand the value of forests is something they need to learn by being a part of nature.  I find for me I don't appreciate something that I am not involved in.  Do you do things in nature with your children often?  This will help them to love the environment for life.  
Me and my daughters hiking Summer of 2010
We live in Pittsburgh.  It is a wonderful city.  Not only does it provide all the urban opportunities I love to do with my children, but it is also a place thriving with hikes and other outdoor adventures.  Almost year round we go hiking as a family on the nearby trails throughout the city.  My children look forward to walking through the forests and seeing the beauty of nature the way it should be.  We try to go at least once a week on these hikes.  
Me and my children seeing a very cool waterfall full of iron changing the color of the rocks nearby
I am a very unobtrusive mother.  I was talking to my own mother about my children playing in our river we have in our backyard.  I knew that she grew up with a river in her back yard as well.  I was telling her how my kids are becoming obsessive with certain things in the river.  I moved a rock to use in the yard and my son was so upset.  It was a special rock to him.  Then he showed me some of the other rocks and the purposes they had in his make believe world.  I asked my mother if she was that way and she said that she was never allowed to go near the river.  She said her mother was terrified of it.  I find I worry, but I let those feelings subside for the fun of being a child.  Yes, I hate that we have dirty wet clothes almost daily after my kids have played, but I love the way they play in their river and the love of the environment they are developing from me letting them enjoy nature. 

James playing in the river
As a school teacher, I learned that children have a hard time comprehending things they have never experienced in their lives.  While out hiking or playing in nature my children see, hear and touch things that will help them comprehend the books we read.  One time on a hike we found a turtle.  It was so fun to find and see in the wild.  After coming home we gathered all our books about turtles and read about them.  
This year I got a bunch of bird feeders and set them throughout the yard.  My kids have loved watching the birds and studying them.  We got some bird watching books and are going to start tallying up the number of birds we see in our yard.  Seeing the birds is helping them have a love of the animals that live in forested areas.  
With the participation of this forest appreciation blog hop, I went out to the library and took my kids to the forest section in the children's area.  They picked out several books for us to read.  As we read a book about rain forests my children were eager to tell me other things they had learned in school and off of television, but when we got to the end about companies burning down forests and cutting trees my kids got sad.  Ally said, "I don't understand why they would do that?"    

We talked about ways that we could use less paper and conserve more wood so forests wouldn't need to be cut down.  My daughter said we should use two sides of our papers.  My son said we shouldn't buy furniture if we don't need it.  I talked about not throwing away things, but finding new uses or buying more things such as furniture used.  The book said mahogany is a wood that many rich countries love, but that is important for us to not buy to help discourage the cutting down of the rain forests.

Ohiopyle: one of our favorite hiking destinations
Over the last few weeks we have read many other books about forests.  My favorite all time forest book is "The Great Kapok tree" by Lynne Cherry.  I did a collaborative play with second graders in college using this book as the outline and it has ever since been my favorite.  I decided for our art project we would springboard off this book.  I read it to the kids and then asked them to create an art piece for me that depicts the feelings they have about this book.  I love art to be child driven, but you never know what the end product will be.

Allison got too complicated.  Right upon completing the book she said she wanted to gather sticks for her project.  After 20 minutes of gathering supplies, she got tired and hungry.  I could never again get her to finish her project in time.  Whatever is in her mind is very complicated.  She told me that she is still working out the details in her mind.  This is what it looked like last time she worked on it.
she has seeds, sticks, beans, and leaves.  I can only imagine what this will become.  I will post pictures when she gets to finishing up her ideas.
She did do a quick watercolor for me because I begged her for something to actually share on the blog.  It is a beautiful watercolor of a forest.

James worked on his right away.  When I asked what supplies he needed he said, "markers and paper."  I asked how big a paper and he said big.
James is an interesting artist.  He makes a lot of sounds and uses his drawing in actions as he pretends.  As he was drawing he was telling me to look at this and that on the picture.  He told me all about how this is a light forest and it has magical lights that make float down and make the flowers grow.  
The Light Forest
This is his final product.  I told him how interesting it was that his forest only had three colors and that I liked the red leaves on his tree.  He said he hates green thats why.  He really does hate green.  I can't give him green cups, green clothes, green plates, green anything!  
It was so fun to participate in this Forest event.  I want to thank Mommy Labs for inviting me.  I hope you all will go visit these other blogs listed below to see what others made to celebrate the forests in our world.


  1. what a great hike I love your forest you went to :) all ours are under flood orders so no hiking for a while maybe months :(

    great forest art!

  2. Wow you have a river in your backyard, thats wonderful!!! Lucky you and kids:) Love all the pictures. Your daughter's painting is beautiful !! And the son's light forest is great, great imagination he has:)

  3. I am loving all the pictures of the gorgeous nature around your house and the river running across your yard. This is only a dream for us living in a city apartment - unless we visit some country side.
    That water colour painting is so gorgeous. Allison has serious talent!
    Thank you to you and your adorable kids for participating... :)

  4. I love the way you allowed for their creativity to guide their process. I'm sure whatever your daughter ends up with will be wonderful!

  5. What a beautiful post! Lovely pictures! The painting and drawing are fabulous!

  6. Oh what a wonderful adventure! I remember taking my daughter to the mountains of New Mexico! Now I am planning a trip for my grandson - in a few years:)


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